Report: Hawks narrow new coach list to four, all current assistants elsewhere

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The Atlanta Hawks are in the midst of a rebuild that’s going to take a few years. Since they also still have to pay former coach Mike Budenholzer for next season (if he gets a new job it will offset some of that) the expectation around the league has been the Hawks would look at first-time NBA coaches from the list of top assistants (they cost less)

That’s what they’ve done, and they are down to four, with a couple of meeting with ownership, reports Michael Cunningham at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Hawks have narrowed their head coaching search down to four candidates, according to a person with knowledge of the team’s plans. They are Sixers assistant Lloyd Pierce, Blazers assistant Nate Tibbetts, Hornets assistant Stephen Silas and Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga.

Tibbetts already has met with Hawks principal owner Tony Ressler and Pierce could do so soon. Silas and Larranaga also remain in the running for the job, according to the person with knowledge of the team’s search.

Pierce comes from Philadelphia, where rebuilding — or, “the process,” if you prefer — has been the order of the day for years. That experience and the success that franchise has had this season and playoffs is a boost for his candidacy. He’s a guy players’ young and old seem to trust.

Tibbetts has spent time as a head coach in the G-League (called the D-League when he was there), an advantage because of his experience sitting in the big chair. He’s considered a great communicator — just ask Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum — and has a wealth of experience.

Either of those two — or really any of the four — could do a good job. Ultimately, Atlanta’s success will depend on how well GM Travis Schlenk and team can build a roster for whoever he hires. Everyone on that list has earned their shot, and it looks like one of them will get it.