The Atlanta Hawks are considering hiring CSKA Moscow coach Ettore Messina for next season, making the Italian the first ever European head coach in the NBA.
Hawks’ general manager Danny Ferry has included Messina among the leading candidates for the role alongside Stan Van Gundy, who is the favourite for the job, but it is understood that the former Orlando Magic coach is unlikely to accept the role.
Messina secured a third place finish in last week’s Euroleague Final Four in London with CSKA Moscow and boasts a record of five Russian League championships and four Italian League titles as well as being a two-time Euroleague Coach of the Year.
Ferry was present in London, scouting Messina.
In the 2011-12 season, Messina spent the year as part of the coaching staff at the Los Angeles Lakers but left to take up the role at CSKA Moscow.
The 53-year-old is considered to be one of the top coaches in Europe, and speaks excellent English.