The Atlanta Hawks are holding on to head coach Nate McMillan. On Tuesday, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk announced that the organization has an agreement in place to make McMillan the permanent head coach of the team after he led the Hawks all the way to the Eastern Conference finals as their interim head coach. McMillan's new deal with the Hawks is for four years, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Hawks initially hired McMillan, 56, last November as an assistant under Lloyd Pierce. In March, McMillan took over as Atlanta's interim head coach after Pierce was relieved of his duties. At the time, the Hawks were 14-20 and outside of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta quickly turned things around under McMillan and finished the season 27-11 after he took over. They then went on to beat the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs, and took down the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in the semifinals. Ultimately, they lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games in the conference finals, but McMillan clearly proved his merit to the franchise in the process.
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The Hawks are the fourth head-coaching stop for McMillan. He also coached the Seattle Supersonics (2000-2005), the Portland Trail Blazers (2005-2012) and the Indiana Pacers (2016-2020). He has compiled a career regular-season record of 688-599 as a head coach, and he has an all-time record of 27-44 in the postseason.
Given the success that McMillan had with the Hawks this season, the fact that the team has decided to retain him and remove the "interim" tag from his title is far from surprising. Instead, it feels like a mere formality. McMillan clearly connected with his players, and he was able to get them to buy into his style of play, especially on the defensive end. Moving forward, McMillan and the Hawks will aim to build off the momentum they established this season.