Atlanta Hawks head coachLarry Drew
shown on the bench during the game against the Milwaukee Bucks during the first half at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
The wheels continue to spin with regard to the Atlanta Hawks head coaching search.
Current head coach Larry Drew told the AJC’s Chris Vivlamore on Friday that he has taken an interview for the currently vacant head coaching job with the Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee reportedly called Danny Ferry to request permission to speak with Drew (who is under contract through June 30) and Ferry granted that request after speaking peacefully with Drew. Drew was quick to add that he and Hawks GM Danny Ferry “left open” the possibility that Drew could return to Atlanta in the same position, but with news of Ferry pursuing other candidates and Drew being contacted by an “additional team”, the prospects of a return do not seem likely.
On the Hawks side, it has been confirmed that the front office has interviewed two more candidates in addition to the confirmed interview with Nate McMillan earlier in the week. F0rmer Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy (who had been widely linked to the opening) and current Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer have completed interviews with Danny Ferry, and each would bring different skills to the position. Van Gundy is extremely well-regarded as a head coach in the league, as he was able to sustain success in Orlando until a falling out with Dwight Howard. Budenholzer has never been a head coach in the league, but he comes from the long line of high-level candidates from the Spurs organization, and there is no one better to learn from than Gregg Popovich and RC Buford.
One interesting note (reported by the AJC) is that there have been “others who have officially interviewed” and the number could be growing by the minute. National media outlets reported that Atlanta has reached out to CSKA Moscow head coach Ettore Messina (a four-time Euroleague Champion), and the Hawks search has come under the microscope in a big way in recent hours and days.
The future of the franchise is greatly in the hands of this hire from Danny Ferry, and I absolutely love the willingness to bring in several candidates. Positively, there isn’t a single name that has been “leaked” that I would wholly disapprove of, and there are some extremely intriguing “upside” options in Van Gundy and Messina. As the wheel turns, stay tuned to ATL All Day for the latest updates.