Hawks’ Snyder sees an ‘opportunity’ at the receiving end

ATLANTA – Quin Snyder was more than just the first coaching candidate approached when Atlanta Hawks general manager Landry Fields began looking to replace Nate McMillan.

Snyder was the only candidate interviewed by Fields.

“All we’re looking for is check, check, check,” Fields said of his discussions with Snyder, the former Utah Jazz coach, who was introduced Monday as the Hawks’ new coach. Fields said finding the right fit right away with Snyder “was a great moment.”

Snyder will make his Atlanta debut on Tuesday night, when the Hawks play at home against Washington. Joe Prunty, who was 2-0 as an interim coach, will remain on the bench next to Snyder.

The Hawks announced the signing of Snyder to a five-year deal Sunday night, just five days after McMillan was fired with the team in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

The announcement is not surprising. Fields confirmed on Wednesday that Snyder is a candidate.

Fields hopes the Hawks, currently in the playoff spot, can finish the regular season strong under Snyder and earn a playoff berth as one of the top six teams in the East. .

The Hawks (31-30) will try to regain their success under McMillan by reaching the 2021 Eastern Conference finals. Hope to find out that the winning formula has now been transferred to Snyder in a potentially difficult situation at the end of the season.

“It’s always a challenge, but those challenges are often rewarding and the best opportunities,” Snyder said.

He said the decision to take the job now, instead of waiting until after the season, was not an easy one.

“As I think about it, I think the opportunity to get in now, even though it’s probably challenging, is an opportunity to hopefully keep running,” Snyder said. “Also, and I think these things are not different from each other, to start building a foundation, culture.”

Snyder, 56, was an assistant on Mike Budenholzer’s Hawks staff during the 2013-14 season.

He was 372-264 as Utah’s coach from 2014-15 to 2021-22, finishing with six consecutive playoff seasons. Although the Jazz have never made it past the Western Conference semifinals, the winning record will make Snyder an attractive candidate for other teams that may be making coaching changes after the season.

The Hawks’ transition period created an opening for Fields to have a special conversation with Snyder.

Fields said the opportunity to be Snyder’s starter had no bearing on his decision to fire McMillan during the All-Star break. Fields said he is motivated to make a move because he believes the Hawks are underperforming under McMillan.

“We’ve got two different things going on — what’s the state of our team right now and how can we serve them and set us up for a late season win after the All-Star break and then how do we go in the standings. ourselves as a team,” Fields said, adding that “it doesn’t necessarily mean that Quin will take over in the middle of the season. It’s not a big deal for us. I know that first we have to talk to the football club, and that’s what we did.”

Snyder said the opportunity in Atlanta “aligned perfectly” with what he was looking for in his next coaching job after leaving Utah after last season.

New Hawks assistant general manager Kyle Korver played for Snyder in Atlanta and Utah. Korver gave Snyder positive reviews about Fields. Snyder said he believes the Hawks provide the “attitudes in the front office” he asked for.

“I wanted to have that kind of partnership and I knew it made this situation, I think, a perfect fit for me personally,” Snyder said, adding that he and Korver “have been friends for a long time … . His opinion of Landry, confirmed everything I’ve heard about Landry.”

Snyder met with the Atlanta players on Monday morning. Other players, including Dejounte Murray and Bogdan Bogdanovic, attended the afternoon press conference. The team’s star guard, guard Trae Young, did not participate.

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