The Hawks made the decision to move on from coach Nate McMillan on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Hawks general manager Landry Fields addressed the media to discuss his decision.

Here are some of Fields’ responses to questions asked at Wednesday media availability:

Fields’ opening statement: I hope it’s obvious but obviously these these decisions are never easy. A lot of thought went into it, a lot of conversations, and it’s something that we’ve obviously arrived to today, and I just first and foremost want to say ‘thank you to Nate.’ He has done an incredible job for us – taking over as interim after Lloyd Pierce, getting us to the Eastern Conference finals. The man has over 750 wins in his career. That is an unbelievable achievement for him. Just getting to know him over the past few years, the amount of respect and honor that that man has, even in hearing the news is something that I’m honored to say that I was glad to have worked with him here, but as of late, my pulse and my read on this team and the changes that we’re making and things that we want to implement, felt like this was the the time to make a change. And that was a sense that I’ve gotten some that I’ve read on and this was my decision and it’s something that I don’t just put on Nate.

I absolutely believe that no matter who is in that lead role, that voice has got to be partially who they are, but also just with our players and the accountability that they must have. At the end of the day, they’ve got to own their stuff. They get to own their roles and their own professional habits. Take accountability towards one another. It can’t just always be on the coach, but I do believe that there was slippage and this was an area that we we needed to address in order for us to continue to build out how we want to build out here in Atlanta. So just want to start off by by saying that.

Q: When was the first read of ‘now is the time to make the changes’ and how long ago did you start kind of taking a look at this decision?

A: It’s been on my radar, honestly, for the probably the last month or so. You never want to put too much stock into any one or two particular games. But at Charlotte and the Knicks game were definitely strong indicators for me in just getting a sense of of our players. And it’s something that I wanted to make sure to wait till yesterday to do it. I didn’t want to have any distractions with people while they’re on break. And I also wanted to make sure that I did this face-to-face with Nate. And that was the time that we were going to be able to chat was yesterday. So that’s when.

Q: There have been continued reports of McMillan attempting to resign through the season. Why wasn’t that honored?

A: He never expressed that to me. If he expressed that somewhere else, that would be a question for him. So that’s not something I was expressed to me from him.

Q: Is there a possibility that you bring someone in before the end of the regular schedule?

A: Yes, there is. I have mentioned to our group here, like we are immediately and aggressively looking at other candidates. And that could be before the season ends. That could be this summer, but we’re trying to get a jump on it.

Q: What are you looking for just in terms of a new candidate and kind of what you want to bring here to this organization?

A: Well, it always starts with a shared vision. And I always simplify that as being a championship-caliber franchise. And that’s not just with our goals, that’s our day-in-and-day-out approach. Character is something that is going to be high on our list, and I think it’s a big broad word but for us, having a great degree of emotional intelligence being able to connect not just with staff members, but also with players, is gonna be high on the list. Somebody that is able and willing to hold the line, accountability is huge for us. And then at the end of the day has a strong emphasis on development. That is something that we will be making sure is part of our priorities here with Atlanta. So, those would be some to start.

Q: Did Trae (Young) or any player have any pull in this decision and will they have a voice in selecting the new coach?

A: They did not have any role in this decision. I would not ever go to players on something like this. This was solely my decision at the end of the day. As far as a new candidate, to me our objectives and our values are clear. And the players fall in line with those, as well. So (I) don’t necessarily need their feedback on who that will be.

Q: Do you have a No.1 candidate in mind right now?

A: We have a pool of coaches that we’re looking at right now.

Q: Have you already started that process of speaking with them?

A: We have.

Q: Can you confirm or deny the reporting that you’re looking to bring in Quin Snyder during the season?

A: Yes, Quin is a part of that pool. That’s somebody that we will consider, for sure.

Q: Does his availability play a factor?

A: It’s a factor in the sense that I feel comfortable mentioning his name, but there’s other candidates that I don’t want to mention because they’re part of other teams, and I want to honor them and make sure I’m respectful of other teams in their whole process with their guys.

Q: There are parallels between the firing of Lloyd Pierce in 2021 and Nate McMillan this year. How much power will the next coach have in holding players, including Trae Young, accountable?

A: So there’s 23 games left, and our objectives have been changed. And I’ve communicated that with everyone that our goal is to be a playoff team. Now that is something, how we go about that, I expect everyone to give it their all and absolutely put their best foot forward. And I’ve told our coaches that ‘you are empowered to do what you need to do to win ballgames.’ However I can be supportive during this process, I will do but the mandate is very clear.

Q: How much better do you guys think you really are or can be (following this decision)?

A: I believe we can get a lot better. I think that this is a very talented roster. And looking at our record, like it’s not acceptable with what I believe this roster can be. So that’s why we’re trying to make a change and level up.

Q: What does a lot better look like? Top four? Top six?

A: I would hope so in time. If we’re going to be a championship-caliber franchise then we need to start leveling up and getting there.

Q: Right now, how much better do you think this team can get, right now?

A: I mean, it’s it’s tough to say right? There’s a belief. Like, to definitively say we are this team, I don’t think it’s fair to this organization. I think it’s fair to the players. But I will instill a strong belief in them that you absolutely can be this.

Q: You were asked about Trae earlier. This is two head coaches now he has clashed with on some level. How big of a concern is that to you and (team owner) Tony (Ressler) and the organization?

A: Whenever you see that in the past, those are definitely areas that you want to maintain focus on. But for us it’s not a huge concern. And to place an emphasis on Trae in these matters is just totally unfair, in my opinion.

Q: Do you think he bears a responsibility as the highest profile player (on the team)?

A: He does, and I’ve communicated that with him. He understands what position he’s in on the team. He understands where he needs to grow and that’s consistent with us being a development culture and wanting to be more of that. It’s about support. It’s also about challenge, and those conversations that we had, we’re very clear with him on what we want him and need him to grow in.

Q: Do you see the mix of things that have happened within this organization being a deterrent for potential coaching candidates?

A: So, I look at this organization, in its totality, and I see a lot of potential, and I can see where for any candidate, I would be looking at the talent that’s on this team. I would be looking at our ownership group. I would be looking at this city and the fan base that we have. I think it’s an incredible organization to come into. My communication with them on what our vision and our goals are, I think would be made clear. And I think that all that does speak for themselves regardless of opinions outside of the matter. I do believe that we have a lot to offer.

Q: Do you feel like everything is going to be good financially in the negotiation process?

A: Oh, yeah, I do. I do. This organization wants to win. Our ownership group wants to win. We have all the resources in place to make good, sound decisions.

Q: The last time this team had an interim head coach, it took off. Have you had any conversations with Joe (Prunty) about where he would be in the interview process? Is that even a consideration?

A: The only thing that I’ve spoken with Joe about right now is to focus on the task at hand. I’m putting them in positions that are that are challenging to do this right now, sort of so last minute, like there’s enough on Joe’s plate to focus on this to make sure that however long he’s sitting in that interim seat, he’s supported and does the best he can do. So that’s been my communication with him, just focus on the task at hand. We’ll cover everything else later.

Q: How important is for the new coach to get along with Trae?

A: Whoever this person is, guy or gal, it’s going to be important for them to have a respectful relationship with each other – Trae toward them, them toward Trae and them toward anybody. I know we’re focusing a lot on Trae right now, but there’s multiple players on this team that are all very core to what we’re doing. And I get it, he is the guy that sits in that spot. He’s an unbelievable talent, so we expect more out of him, for sure.

Q: Was part of the reason Nate was removed was because of his relationship with Trae?

A: No, I think that at the end of the day, it came down to how all players were responding to his voice, and I just didn’t see it. I didn’t see the trajectory going anywhere that was going to be beneficial for us.

Q: Was this decision unanimous among ownership and the rest of the front office?

A: Ultimately, this came down to my decision. We have discussions about the why and have discussions about how to proceed going forward, but ultimately, it was me that made this decision that started this whole process.