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. Ferry recently scouted CSKA Moscow in London at the Euroleague Final Four. Atlanta's top target, Stan Van Gundy, is a long shot to accept the job, league sources said. Messina, 53, is a four-time Euroleague championship coach and two-time Euroleague coach of the year. Across two decades of head coaching jobs in Italy and Russia, Messina has won five Russian League championships and four Italian League titles. Messina spent the 2011-'12 season as a part of Mike Brown's coaching staff with the Los Angeles Lakers. With uncertainty over Brown's future, Messina left the NBA to take a $1 million-plus a year job with CSKA Moscow. Messina brought Lakers assistant Quin Snyder to CSKA with him as an assistant coach. Ferry and Snyder have a long, close relationship, dating back to their days as Duke University teammates. Snyder is a candidate for the Phoenix Suns and Charlotte Bobcats coaching jobs. Ferry is considered one of the few NBA executives with the fearlessness to make the historic move. To introduce a European coach into the leadership of an NBA locker room needs a strong, sure executive, and Ferry possesses the independence of mind to make the move. Hired with a six-year, $12 million-plus contract a year ago, Ferry has the freedom to reshape the Hawks franchise.
Hawks consider historic hire of European coach Ettore Messina
Yahoo! Sports | May 17