[UPDATE: Kenny Atkinson Won’t Take Job With Hornets]
The Hornets plan to hire Kenny Atkinson to be their new head coach, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links).
The two sides have reached an agreement in principle, reports Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Atkinson will receive a four-year contract, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
As Charania relays, Atkinson met with owner Michael Jordan and other high-level Hornets officials for his third interview on Wednesday. Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic previously pegged Atkinson as the frontrunner for the job, with Boone later stating that he could be hired by the end of this week.
Atkinson, 55, is currently an assistant coach with the Warriors and spent last season as an assistant with the Clippers. He’s most well-known for being the head coach of the Nets from 2016-20, leading an impressive turnaround during his four years at the helm.
Although Atkinson’s record 118-190 record with the Nets seems pretty poor, the team went just 20-62 in 2016/17, his first year, and made the playoffs two years later with a 42-40 record. He played a key role in developing players like Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, and D’Angelo Russell, all of whom improved tremendously during his tenure.
The Hornets reportedly believe they’re on the verge of being a playoff team and wanted a head coach who will help the club take the next step. Atkinson is known for his player development skills and defensive acumen, so he could be a good fit for key players like LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges.
Boone writes that Atkinson’s first task will be creating his coaching staff and deciding whether or not he wants to retain any of James Borrego‘s former assistants, who have all been working and awaiting their fates until a new coach was hired. Borrego was fired after Charlotte was blown out in the first game of the play-in tournament for the second consecutive year.
The Hornets control the Nos. 13, 15, and 45 picks in the 2022 NBA draft and have a number of mid-size contracts that could be dangled in trades, so it will be interesting to see how GM Mitch Kupchak reshapes the roster this summer with Atkinson as head coach. Bridges is also a restricted free agent and figures to receive a large contract, so balancing his large salary increase with the remainder of the roster is another thing to keep an eye on.
With Atkinson set to depart Golden State, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr will be losing two key assistants this spring, as Mike Brown was hired to be the new head coach of the Kings last month.
Former Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni was the other finalist for the Hornets’ vacancy, and while former Blazers coach Terry Stotts was reportedly in the running, it’s unclear if he ever got a third interview to meet with Jordan like Atkinson and D’Antoni did.
29 thoughts on “Hornets Plan To Hire Kenny Atkinson As Head Coach”
It’s the easiest to get head coach job if you are Warriors
Lakers are Knicks are opposite next 5 seasons
Do not encourage the bot, crush it with your heel.
Great selection for the young’s hornets team. Now teach the hornets to play defense.
I think he will be better than Borrego, but probably not as good as Vogel would have been.
Mike D’Antoni is better fit for 76ers HC job
He can only coach top 2 seeds
The best city to live for Atkinson is San Francisco
Please clarify Sillivan. San Francisco is best for Atkinson? clarify
There was an article that said Atkinson stated “he loves living in San Francisco” and if any head coaching job falls through that he really loves living in the city and doesn’t mind coming back to the Warriors.
Sillivan reads…, A LOT !! I think any strange statements he makes with no backup in his post come from things he’s read somewhere.
makes sense now. thx gary
Hes kinda like a broken roomba. Yea hes cleaning but hes been stuck in the same corner for hours.
He’s fluent in confusion.
How ’bout them Warriors!
He’s a troll who just throws out words hoping they form sentences. It’s best to ignore him
Let’s go Kenny!!!!!
Great job avoiding the Lakers role.
This is the perfect team for him.
Young, exciting, needing his kind of leadership and culture building. Expect them to go after a centre now.
Look at what he did with the Nets, taking them to the playoffs and having DLo think he was Dame, LeVert was in career best form, Jarrett Allen was a beast, Dudley was great for the locker room.
I can see similarities with LaMelo in for a big season, Bridges isn’t going to be a 1 season wonder, and they will go for a centre which they desperately need for defence.
Rudy Gobert, DeAndre Ayton, Jusif Nurkic… it’s a buyer market for centre right now. Even in FA Whiteside, Thompson etc they would be considered upgrades.
“Damn, damn, damn”
– Stephen A. Smith
Followed by his five-minute diatribe about white privilege.
People still listen to Stephen Smith? Is it 2010 still ?
He’ll be fired in 2-3 years. MJ is the worst owner in the NBA
James Dolan says hello
greatest on the court worst behind a desk
Predicting Atkinson will make some enenies.
Good hire. Rare moment when Charlotte gets it right.
So you change a really bad coach for another really bad coach with the hope things will turn up better… we all know the definition of madness, right?
Yes they are called politicians
Can anyone tell me why the ‘mute’ function is not working for me? I keep hitting it and the same inane commenter keeps showing up.
Atkinson isn’t bad.
Not reading “retread” from anyone… curious. Don’t look at me, not one I use.