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Report: Atlanta Hawks considering Spurs’ Assistant Coach Mitch Johnson for Head Coach

Upcoming assistant in line for Eastern Conference job

2022 Las Vegas Summer League - Atlanta Hawks v San Antonio Spurs Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks announced the firing of head coach Nate McMillan on Tuesday, February 21. In the wake of the firing, NBA Insider Shams Charania reported Spurs’ assistant Mitch Johnson made the short list of coaches who are being considered by the Hawks in their new head coaching search.

Johnson started his coaching career as an assistant with the Austin Spurs in 2016, where he worked under Ken McDonald and Blake Ahearn for three seasons. In 2019 he was called up to the pro club in San Antonio, where he has joined a staff that now includes Brett Brown and Matt Nielsen. Johnson was the head coach of the 2022 Spurs’ Summer League squad that went 1-4.

Johnson has ties to one of the Hawks best players, and a familiar face for fans of the Silver and Black. Both he and Dejounte Murray are Seattle natives, and had crossover on the Spurs from 2019-2022. Seattle hoops legend, Isaiah Thomas tweeted his support for Johnson today. Johnson’s relationship with Murray is sure to be one of his advantages in the search.

Seeing promising assistant coaches get plucked for other jobs is nothing new for Spurs’ fans. NBA head coaches like Mike Budenholzer, Ime Udoka, James Borrego, Brett Brown and Jacque Vaughn all spent time learning under Gregg Popovich. Will Johnson become the next Popovich protege to become an NBA coach?