Atlanta Hawks parting ways with former NBA champion

The unlikely NBA career of Patty Mills might be coming to an end.

The Atlanta Hawks will waive Mills, a 15-year veteran who won a championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Trent Forrest, a shooting guard, has a two-way contract with Atlanta that they intend to convert to a regular NBA contract, making him expendable.

After joining the Hawks in three transactions involving six different teams, Mills was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets and has only appeared in 19 games for the team this season. Although the veteran NBA guard still has a good three-point shooting percentage (38.2%), his scoring and playing time have drastically decreased during the past two seasons.

The Portland Trail Blazers selected Mills with the 55th selection in the 2009 NBA Draft, and his waiving might signal the end of an incredible pro career. Following an outstanding collegiate career at Saint Mary’s College, Mills made NBA history as the ninth Australian player ever. He has surpassed Andrew Bogut to become the Australian with the most NBA seasons played and points scored.

When Mills signed with the San Antonio Spurs in 2012, he started to make an impact. During his first three years with the team, he shot over 40% from distance. In the 2013–14 campaign, Mills shot a career-high 42.5% from three-point range, more than doubling his scoring to 10.2 points per game. When it came to the Most Improved Player poll that season, Mills came in ninth. He made 13 of his 23 three-point tries in the NBA Finals, helping the Spurs defeat the Miami Heat in five games.

Mills took over the game in the series’ decisive game. A close game turned into a rampage halfway through the third quarter when Mills entered the game and blasted past LeBron James for a reverse layup. Mills went on to fire four three-pointers.

Announcers started discussing Mills’ native Australian ancestry and the life of his great-uncle Eddie Mabo, a political figure in Australia’s struggle for the land rights of indigenous peoples, because the game got out of control. Only three native Australians have played for their country’s national side, including Mills.


Mills was incredibly durable for the Spurs, especially considering his small stature. The guard missed just three games between 2015 and 2019. When the Spurs won sixty-one games in 2016–17, Mills came in eighth place in the Sixth Man of the Year voting. In 2022, he was awarded the NBA’s Sportsmanship Award.

A No. 55 pick having a 15-season NBA career is remarkable, let alone one that lasts that long. Mills, though, was a unique player. 2019 saw Gregg Popovich refer to him as “one of the greatest teammates ever.” That’s how Mills will be remembered if this is the end of his career.

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