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The Atlanta Hawks have convinced assistant Nate McMillan to become the team’s interim head coach after firing Lloyd Pierce.
The Atlanta Hawks entered this season with the hope they could be contenders in the Eastern Conference. But with the team sitting in 11th place in the East with a 14-20 record, the organization opted to make some serious changes on the sidelines.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday that the Hawks have fired head coach Lloyd Pierce. In addition to this news, Wojnarowski reports that the team is hoping assistant coach Nate McMillan will fill the vacancy on an interim basis.
UPDATE: Wojnarowski later reported that McMillan has indeed accepted Atlanta’s offer and will take over as the interim head coach.
McMillan replaces Pierce for now
The ESPN insider noted that McMillian is loyal to Pierce and would meet with him and the rest of the coaching staff. It was a mystery whether McMillan would accept, but he has apparently done so. The Hawks wanted him to take on this role, and it sounds like they had to do some serious convincing.
Atlanta made some huge moves this offseason to build a strong team around star pint guard Trae Young. They pulled off a sign-and-trade with the Sacramento Kings to acquire Bogdan Bogdanovic and a similar deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder for veteran sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari. However, both have dealt with injuries, with Bogdanovic being out since Jan. 9 with a fractured knee.
With their loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday, the Hawks fell to 3-8 in their last 11 games. Their latest loss was the last straw for Pierce, who was dismissed from his role.
In his three seasons as Hawks head coach, Pierce accumulated a 63-120 record without a single trip to the playoffs.
Meanwhile, McMillan had recent success as a head coach during his time with the Indiana Pacers. Last year, the Pacers rewarded McMillan with a contract extension. Two weeks later, the Pacers parted ways with McMillan after the team was swept out of the first-round by the Heat.
In four seasons, the Pacers held a 183-136 overall record and made the playoffs every single year. Add his time with the Seattle SuperSonics and the Portland Trail Blazers, and McMillan has a 667-591 overall record and a 17-36 record in the playoffs.