The internet can easily get carried away and, in the latest possible example, there is a belief among some that Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young was not-so-subtly dropping a hint as to his preference for the next head coach of the team. This comes as general manager Landry Fields made sure to point out that Young’s relationship with former head coach Nate McMillan specifically was not the impetus for the latter’s dismissal.
“To place any emphasis on Trae in these matters is totally unfair to him, in my opinion,” Fields said via the atlhawksfans YouTube channel.
But, intentionally or not, Young did just that sharing several pictures of himself – from what looks to be his home in Los Angeles – on Instagram with a couple of shots mixed in where the two-time All-Star is donning the jersey of former Phoenix Suns star Steve Nash.
Nash, a Hall of Fame point guard in his own right, was most recently the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets.
He was summarily dismissed on November 1 and replaced by assistant Jacque Vaughn who preceded Nash in Brooklyn and was rewarded for keeping things together amid that change and the turmoil that ultimately led to the trades of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving at the deadline.
His tenure in Brooklyn began with Irving saying that the team did not really need a coach and ended amid reports that he failed to make a connection with most of the roster including the stars. Durant blamed the failed union on a lack of health from the roster. But he also pushed for Nash’s ouster in the offseason amid his previous trade demand.
Nash left Brooklyn with a 94-67 record (.584 winning percentage) and two playoff appearances.
This is not to suggest he cannot be even better in his next stop — Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd is in his third stop while McMillan was in his fourth.
But the latest postseason showing came in a sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics last season and he led them to a 2-5 start this season before getting shown the door. Is that an improvement after reaching the Conference Finals with McMillan?
The Atlanta Hawks List of Candidates Did Not Include Steve Nash
There was no official list given by Fields outside of former Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder who stepped down after last season and was an assistant in Atlanta. He otherwise chose to remain mum on potential candidates out of respect for their current situations and to avoid any tampering issues with the league.
It is believed that their list includes Milwaukee Bucks assistant head coach Charles Lee and Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson who, ironically, was shown the door in Brooklyn for Nash.
Fields did say that hiring a head coach in-season is on the table which would work in Nash’s (and Snyder)’s favor. Young has not officially addressed McMillan’s firing, though several of his teammates spoke after practice on Wednesday, the team’s first back from the break.
Young also posted the same message on Twitter, though without the set of images.
Again, with no real basketball for the last week, and then this sudden explosion of information from a team that had seemed on the brink for weeks, this could all be nothing.
At the same time, the smoke around this team has been leading to actual fires more often than not lately and could be yet again in this instance. We will have to wait to get Young’s official statement, assuming he is willing to disclose anything of substance.