Steve Clifford still had a year left on his contract when he was fired by the Hornets earlier this month, so he doesn’t have to worry about finding another job right away. However, speaking to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, Clifford confirmed that he’d like to land one of the NBA’s open head coaching jobs this offseason.
“My hope is to be a head coach again (in the NBA) next year,” Clifford said. “There is a lot of movement in the league. There are certainly jobs I’m interested in. I’m looking into it. I want to be involved in the NBA. I enjoy coaching a great deal (in general), but I also (particularly) enjoy the competition in this league.”
While his time in Charlotte ended with back-to-back years in the lottery, Clifford led the Hornets to a pair of playoff berths in his first three years with the franchise. He remains well regarded in coaching circles, and has been mentioned as a potential candidate for the Suns. It’s not clear if Clifford has spoken to any of the other teams seeking a new head coach.
If Clifford doesn’t end up filling one of the head coaching vacancies around the league, he could draw interest from a number of NBA teams as an assistant. In his conversation with Bonnell, Clifford confirms that’s “definitely” a possibility he’d consider, but suggests he wants to exhaust his head coaching opportunities first before seriously weighing joining another coach’s staff.