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Hawks to go across the pond to find new coach?

Ettore Messina was a member of Mike Brown’s coaching staff with the Lakers temporarily in 2011, but left for a $1 million salary in Russia.

Ettore Messina was a member of Mike Brown’s coaching staff with the Lakers temporarily in 2011, but left for a $1 million salary in Russia.

ATLANTA — General manager Danny Ferry and the Atlanta Hawks are projected to make waves this offseason after shedding salary and likely allowing All-Star Josh Smith to seek greener pastures in free agency.

Those moves, according to Yahoo, could include a trailblazing head-coaching hire.

European-born Ettore Messina, an Italian coach who presides over CSKA Moscow, is one of the team’s top candidates to replace coach Larry Drew, whose contract will reportedly now be renewed. Messina recently met with Ferry in London, according to Yahoo.

The Hawks could make a swift move to hire the 53-year old, two-time Euroleague coach of the year who has nine titles combined in the Russian and Italian professional leagues.

Messina was a member of Mike Brown’s coaching staff with the Lakers temporarily in 2011, but left for a $1 million salary in Russia.

Ferry was hired last year and signed a six-year, $12 million contract. He is also reportedly interested in hiring Stan Van Gundy and played collegiately with Quin Snyder at Duke. Snyder was an assistant coach for Messina, who speaks fluent English and teaches an NBA-style, attacking offensive game.

The Hawks are expected to have as little as $25 million committed in salary by mid-July, when just three players on their current roster have guaranteed contracts: Al Horford, John Jenkins and Lou Williams.