Tuesday, January 31, 2023
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NBA: Hawks coach Nate McMillan refutes report he’s mulling resignation


FILE–Nate McMillan head coach of the Atlanta Hawks. Rick Osentoski/Getty Images/AFP 

Atlanta Hawks coach Nate McMillan told reporters Friday that he isn’t considering resigning or retiring in the middle of the season, despite a report from The Athletic claiming he was.

Earlier in the day, The Athletic cited league sources in a report saying “McMillan’s job status came into question across the NBA” after he and Trae Young had a disagreement at a pregame shootaround on Dec. 2.

Young, who was injured at the time, did not attend the game that night against the Denver Nuggets, which may have shown a glimpse into a disconnect between the coach and the star player.

The report added that McMillan’s job remains safe and “no resignation from McMillan is imminent.”

“I read that article briefly,” McMillan said Friday night before the Hawks played the Los Angeles Lakers. “I’ve never spoke to that reporter before. I think the last two weeks he’s written a couple of articles with some sources in our organization that are making some comments about me and some things that I’m saying and doing.

“Look, at the end of the year, I’ll do as I’ve always done. I’ll talk with my family and see if that flame, that fire, to continue next season, but that’s the end of the season. All of us think about retiring, but that’s at the end of the season. We’re going to move past that, that story.”

McMillan, 58, has been the Hawks’ coach since taking over after Lloyd Pierce’s firing during the 2020-21 season. He led fifth-seeded Atlanta to the Eastern Conference finals that season and was given a four-year contract.

Now the Hawks are 17-18 and occupy the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

“We have a race to prepare for,” McMillan said. “We’re trying to get our guys healthy and make another run at the playoffs, but the things that were reported, look, I’m here to coach this year, and I’ve talked to (owner) Tony Ressler many times, and our goal is to make the playoffs. And that’s what I’m working towards.”

In an interview with an Atlanta radio station, Hawks CEO Steve Koonin went further, targeting The Athletic NBA insider Shams Charania by name.

“This is made-up stuff,” Koonin said. “I’m literally calling Shams out. It is just hack journalism.”

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