The Atlanta Hawks fired coach Nate McMillan on Tuesday, clearing the way for an immediate search that will start with leading candidate Quin Snyder, sources told ESPN.
The Hawks made assistant Joe Prunty the interim coach of a team that is 29-30 and in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, but new general manager Landry Fields will begin pursuit of the franchise's next coach as soon as Tuesday, sources said.
McMillan and the Hawks were expected to part in the offseason, but ownership and management decided to make the change now with time left to salvage a playoff season and start pursuit of the franchise's next coach, sources said.
This is the second significant change in Hawks leadership this season. President of basketball operations Travis Schlenk stepped down Dec. 21, clearing the way for Fields to become the franchise's top basketball decision-maker.
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.
Snyder led the Utah Jazz to six consecutive appearances in the Western Conference playoffs, including three berths in the conference semifinals. Snyder, 56, resigned after the 2021-22 season and is expected to be at the top of several teams' candidate lists this offseason.
Atlanta has significant offseason decisions to make on how it wants to shape the roster, and the chance to move quickly on a coaching search could give the Hawks a better prism with which they will evaluate the franchise's future. 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, sources said.
Internally, Fields has emphasized defining what a Hawks player will be and wants this coaching search to help shape those characteristics, sources said.
For now, Prunty will take over as interim coach for the second time in his career. After replacing Jason Kidd in 2018, Prunty was 21-16 in the regular season for the Bucks. They lost a seven-game series to the Boston Celtics in that opening round of the playoffs.
McMillan replaced Lloyd Pierce as interim coach in 2021 and engineered a run to the Eastern Conference finals. He was awarded a four-year contract and had a 99-80 record as head coach. The Hawks are 16th in offensive efficiency and 21st in defensive efficiency this season.