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Hawks Reportedly Considering Ettore Messina as NBA's First European Head Coach

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 04:  Head Coach Ettore Messina of CSKA Moscow is hoisted up by his players as they celebrate victory at the end of the Euroleague Final Four final basketball match between Maccabi Elite and CSKA Moscow, at the Palacio de Deportes on May 4, 2008 in Madrid, Spain. CSKA Moscow won the final 91-71.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IMay 17, 2013

The Atlanta Hawks are considering hiring Ettore Messina, who would become the first European head coach in NBA history, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

The 53-year-old has not only won four Euroleague championships in his career, but he's also won five Russian League championships and four Italian League titles.

Los Angeles Lakers fans may recognize Messina. He was an assistant coach under Mike Brown during the 2011-12 campaign but left the NBA for CSKA Moscow with Brown's future murky at the time.

When Brown coached under Hawks general manager Danny Ferry during their days with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Ferry actually asked Brown to study Messina's offense.

The Hawks, who could lose Josh Smith to free agency this summer, are in need of a shot in the arm. They've made the playoffs in six straight seasons but have yet to advance past the Eastern Conference semifinals. They lost in six games to the Indiana Pacers this year.

Messina is widely respected throughout the basketball community for his outstanding success. His ability to win with different teams in different leagues speaks to his coaching prowess, with the ability to adapt to numerous scenarios. He's long been a candidate to become the first European head coach in NBA history.

This may be a bit of gamble given Messina has never been a head coach in the most competitive league in the world, but you can't deny what he has done overseas. Hiring the veteran coach could end up paying off big for the Hawks.

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