Hawks GM: Snyder a candidate, others in play

ATLANTA — Hawks general manager Landry Fields said Wednesday that former Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder is among those being considered to replace Nate McMillan.

Sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Tuesday — the day the Hawks fired McMillan — that Snyder was considered a leading candidate for the job.

Fields stressed their eighth-place standing in the Eastern Conference is not acceptable for a team that advanced to the conference finals in 2021.

He said Snyder’s availability “is a factor in the sense that I feel comfortable mentioning his name, but there are other candidates I don’t want to mention because they are a part of other teams.”

Snyder has history as a Hawks assistant coach under Mike Budenholzer, as do two more candidates expected to be part of the process: Milwaukee Bucks associate head coach Charles Lee and Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, sources said.

Fields said he has started talking with potential candidates and could make a hire this season. Assistant coach Joe Prunty began serving as interim coach with Wednesday’s practice but may not be involved in the interview process for the full-time position.

“To do this now, sort of last minute, there’s enough on Joe’s plate,” Fields said, adding his message to Prunty was to focus on the task at hand and “we’ll cover everything else later.”

Sources told ESPN that Fields wants a coach who will improve the franchise’s player development and accountability and get the team moving toward the top 10 in both offensive and defensive rankings. The Hawks are 16th in offensive efficiency and 21st in defensive efficiency this season.

Snyder, 56, was 372-264 as Utah’s coach from 2014 to 2022. He guided the Jazz to six consecutive playoff appearances before stepping down after last season.

McMillan, 58, went 99-80 as Atlanta’s coach, including a 27-11 record as interim coach in the second half of the 2020-21 season. His success that season in leading Atlanta to the Eastern Conference finals earned him the full-time position.

But McMillan couldn’t follow up on that success. The Hawks lost to the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs last season after surviving the play-in tournament.

Fields, who became the Hawks’ top basketball decision-maker following the resignation of president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk on Dec. 21, said he considered a coaching change for one month and was influenced by back-to-back losses to the Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks before the break.

“I do believe there was slippage, and I felt that was a need we needed to address,” Fields said.

Fields said he did not consult point guard Trae Young or other players before making the move. Fields said speculation McMillan’s efforts were affected by conflicts with Young were unfair to the player and were not a factor in his decision to make a coaching change.

Overall in 19 seasons, McMillan has a 760-668 record with the Seattle SuperSonics, Portland Trail Blazers, Indiana Pacers and Hawks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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