Apr 26, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; The Atlanta Hawks bench reacts to a basket against the Indiana Pacers during the second half in game four of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. The Pacers defeated the Hawks 91-88. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Hawks Hire Neven Spahija as Assistant Coach

David Liam Kyle/NBA/Getty Images

Former Croatian Coach of the Year Neven Spahija has agreed to terms to join head coach Mike Budenholzer’s staff with the Atlanta Hawks. (David Liam Kyle/NBA/Getty Images)

The Atlanta Hawks have a new assistant coach. Former Croatian Coach of the Year Neven Spahija has agreed to terms to join head coach Mike Budenholzer’s staff, according to Hawks beat writer Chris Vivlamore.

Atlanta was down an assistant coach after Quin Snyder agreed to become the head coach of the Utah Jazz. Spahija replaces Snyder on the bench and figures to help Atlanta immensely with his vast experience in European basketball, coaching in Europe for nearly 30  years.

Spahija, 51, last coached KK Cibona. The new Hawks assistant coach has previously worked with the Croatian national tem, Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv, and also has experience coaching in the Spanish ACB League. He has also won multiple championships overseas, adding to his resume.

“Neven is one of the most successful coaches in Europe and we’re thrilled to add him to our staff,” said Hawks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer in the official press release. “As an organization, we have great respect for international basketball and we will benefit tremendously from his perspective and his wealth of experience.”

Spahija was a highly sought after coach. He had been linked to the Spurs and was also very close to agreeing to return to Turkey to coach Darussafaka Dogus in the Turkish Basketball League.

The Croatian coach will provide great help for the Atlanta Hawks bench with his high experience. The bench “lineup” has yet to be sorted out and it will be interesting to see how things end up.

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