By GEORGE HENRY AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — Hawks coach Nate McMillan said Friday, Dec. 30, he has no plans to retire in the middle of the season, brushing back a report citing unnamed sources.
The Athletic reported that McMillan is considering stepping down before the season ends, but McMillan said that’s not true.
“We have a race to prepare for,” McMillan said. “We’re trying to get our guys healthy and make a run 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.”
McMillan, 58, said he had no immediate reaction to the report. He is in the middle of his third season with the Hawks, who are 17-18 and in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.
“I read that article briefly,” he said. “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 took over as coach when Lloyd Pierce was fired during the 2020-21 season and led the Hawks to the Eastern Conference finals. He was signed to a four-year contract after the season.
McMillan has a 748-656 record in five seasons with Seattle, seven with Portland, four with Indiana and parts of three with Atlanta. He was upset that a disagreement with Hawks star guard Trae Young during a shootaround became public on Dec. 2. Young was injured but skipped the game that night, leading to speculation that McMillan and Young are at odds.
It’s been a busy season in the front office, with Travis Schlenk stepping down last week from his position as president of basketball operations to work as an adviser. General manager Landry Fields has assumed control of daily operations. Fields was promoted to GM earlier this year.
McMillan spent his entire 12-year playing career with Seattle, ending in 1997-98, and averaged 5.9 points and 6.1 assists.