If the name Ettore Messina rings a bell it’s most likely because he was an assistant to Mike Brown in Los Angeles with the Lakers, before leaving to coach CSKA Moscow. This report comes from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry is giving significant consideration to hiring the first European-born head coach in NBA history, sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Ettore Messina, the Italian-born coach of CSKA Moscow, is among the top candidates to replace coach Larry Drew. Ferry and Messina have had contact about the possibility, and Messina is intrigued with the chance to be a global trail blazer in the NBA, sources told Y! Sports
This hiring would be significant because the NBA has never had a European-born head coach, and because the Atlanta Hawks are in the process of becoming a respectable NBA team. Danny Ferry has cleaned house since signing-on as the Hawks general manager, shedding bad contracts such as Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams. The Hawks are expected to lose Josh Smith to free agency, which means the culture in HOT-Lanta is about to get a complete makeover. Why not add an element that no other team in the association has ever had?
Messina has won 4 championships in European play and has been named Euro coach of the year two times. He has NBA experience on the biggest stage in the game (LA), and seems like a real possibility if the Hawks are unable to sway their first choice for head coach, in former Orlando Magic coach, Stan Van Gundy. Although nothing is set in stone, it seems like Ferry likes Messina for one reason or another. The Hawks could be on the verge of making history.