MOSCOW, May 24 (R-Sport) – CSKA Moscow head coach Ettore Messina told R-Sport on Friday there is no credence to reports he has been in talks with the Atlanta Hawks about taking over as head coach of the NBA team next season.
“They’re rumors,” said the Italian-born Messina. “It’s meaningless to talk about rumors.”
Yahoo! Sports reported last week that Hawks general manager Danny Ferry had met with the two-time Euroleague coach of the year about returning to the NBA – Messina was a Los Angeles Lakers assistant in 2011-2012 – as the league’s first European-born head coach.
Ferry reportedly scouted CSKA at the Euroleague Final Four in London earlier this month and, according to Yahoo! sources, Messina has told the Hawks he is "intrigued" with making NBA history.
On Friday, Messina told R-Sport a meeting between him and Ferry was only a rumor.
While the possibility remains open Ferry will bring back head coach Larry Drew, whose three-year contract expires on June 30 after three straight playoff appearances, the general manager has been actively searching for a replacement.
Ferry has reportedly shown interest in former Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan and ex-Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy.
The 53-year-old Messina, who signed a three-year deal with CSKA before the 2012-2013 season, is widely considered one of the greatest European coaches of all time, winning four Euroleague championships.
CSKA, which finished third at the Final Four, opens its VTB United League semifinals series against Khimki on Saturday.