3:24pm: Atkinson will become the Warriors‘ new top assistant under Steve Kerr, Wojnarowski writes in a full story. He will replace Mike Brown, who is leaving to become the Kings’ head coach.
Wojnarowski states that after Atkinson accepted the Hornets’ job last week, he had “further conversations” with the team that made him reconsider. Sources tell Woj that Atkinson never signed a contract with Charlotte. He informed both clubs of his decision this afternoon.
2:39pm: Kenny Atkinson has decided to remain an assistant with the Warriors rather than becoming the Hornets‘ next head coach, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Charlotte made the decision to hire Atkinson eight days ago, with both sides agreeing in principle on a four-year contract. Former Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts and former Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni were the other finalists for the job. Stotts is also among the reported candidates for the head coaching vacancy in Utah.
Atkinson, 55, just completed his first season as an assistant coach with Golden State, winning an NBA title for the first time in his career. He spent last season as an assistant on Tyronn Lue‘s staff with the Clippers and has been as assistant with the Knicks and Hawks as well. His only head coaching experience came with the Nets from 2016-20.
Recent reports cited positive reaction for the Hornets’ decision to hire Atkinson and noted that he’s well-respected around the league.
Charlotte is left in the difficult position of being without a head coach five days before the draft and 12 days before the start of free agency. It’s not clear yet whether owner Michael Jordan intends to shift to one of his other finalists or start the coaching search over.
45 thoughts on “Kenny Atkinson Won’t Take Job With Hornets”
Bay Area life too good! 4 time!
Hornets offer 4-year $10 million, so do Warriors?
Mike Dantoni would accept $10 million contract
He assigns duties to assistants
Imagine telling MJ “no thanks”
He is working for a 1st class organization that pays him well around players that love him and people that respect him. Why should he leave for a stressful head coach position? if you are happy at your job and make a lot of money stay there.
Huh. I wonder if MJ pissed him off.
I bet he got a pay raise
Wow! Good for Atkinson! Dont compromise and go to a team that will will set you up for a failure.
Mike D’Antoni on line 2 …
No coach values an AC job over a HC job. Something must have happened. Unless he was clearly misled during the interview process, it’s a mistake on his part. In his case, the kind of mistake that will almost certain (and likely should) cost him a chance at getting a HC job in the future. It plays into the worst of what was said about Atkinson during his time as BKN HC.
Maybe it’s best for his family and the Warriors offered him enough of a raise to stay. Maybe the leg injury in October is still a factor. Maybe Kerr caused him in on his future plans and the Warriors made Atkinson aware that he’d be the successor. No reason to judge or make assumptions based on limited information.
Maybe he should have considered all those things before accepting the job. I made no assumptions. When a guy accepts a leadership position like this, and then reneges on it (absent new things coming to his attention, like them misleading him), it doesn’t reflect well on him. Among serious people anyway. You’re the one that’s making things up, maybe this, or maybe that.
If it were the other way around, and CHA had a change of heart after offer and acceptance, but before its reduced to writing? No taint on CHA in connection with their future hiring?
People get clarify after life-changing events. He just won a ring. Would you be surprised if that caused him to reevaluate his circumstances?
I suppose I do agree that it’s possible some teams won’t consider him for jobs in the future because of this, but if Atkinson didn’t care enough to march on and take the job, why should I? Any executive worth a damn will see his qualifications and ASK him about this decision during the interview process. Assuming he’s just being an unprofessional d**k is silly.
Dude didn’t get to this level by ducking his responsibilities and breaking promises. I’d bet most teams are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
I couldn’t care less whether he gets another chance at being a HC. Doesn’t mean I can’t point out the obvious, that this unprofessional behavior (nobody said d**k except you) doesn’t reflect well on him and can’t help him if he does.
BTW, there’s nothing obvious about his qualifications for a HC job. His resume for a HC’ing spot is borderline, at best. He’s a career AC, who had one HC job, for which he has gotten mixed reviews.
You didn’t respond to my last question, so I assume you’d have no problem if a team offers the HC’ing job to someone, they accept, and then, prior to signing a contract, the team has second thoughts and tells him they want to hire someone else.
Toddy DXC’s OP said he made a careerist mistake, which past experience says likely. Nothing about being a body part.
Indiana’s Dan Dakich had a similar situation in the college ranks that has been a career-killer, though he continues in broadcasting. There’s more but such names tend to be forgotten!
I took it as a rhetorical question, because it would depend completely on circumstances. Did Carlos Beltran’s hire and immediate firing and replacement make the Mets look bad? At least, like they’d been dishonest and/or unprofessional? Their existing bad reputation aside, I don’t think so.
And now that we know Atkinson backed out not for personal reasons but because Charlotte played cheap with assistant coaches, do you think that taints the team and MJ?
turning down coaching one of the rising stars in the league to stay an assistant is crazy
Could something have happened behind the scenes? If he wanted to draft different players and MJ wants to draft only what he thinks that would be a big red flag. So further conversations sound like disagreements on the future of the team.
Age below 22
5 teams are on rebuild mode
It’s hard to tell which young team is better than Warriors young core 4
Warriors have the best young core 4?
Wiggins value is equal to 4th pick this year plus some salary filler
I am sure after the Win with the finals changed his mind. Probably figured as an assistant with the team that not too long ago won 6 straight titles until Curry was hurt, Thompson was hurt 2 seasons in a row and more took them out. The lakers one then Milwaukee and now Warriors are back so thinks they will go on another run so why give up that. He decided to stay so I do not blame him.
6 straight eh?
said it was a horrible hire when it happened.. this guy is not a leader
Atkinson realized that no need to take a bad job in Charlotte this year, when both the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers will have openings next year.
Wonder if Rockets will be in need too. Not impressed with Silas. And Stone as GM not sure on either. But do not see Doc lasting beyond season ahead. Knicks definitely need coaching.
Exactly. Plenty of bad jobs for Kenny to consider next summer as well!!
I don’t see why the Knicks job is substantially better than the Charlotte position. We can debate about which team has more promising youth all we want, but even if you believe the Knicks are more talent-laden, it’s not by a great enough margin to make the job that much more attractive.
As for the Sixers, it is questionable as to whether that will be a favorable position for an incoming coach as well. Assuming Rivers is fired in this hypothetical scenario, there will be immediate pressure to win. Even worse, if the team decides to begin moving parts, it’s going to be a long while until the next period of contention.
Sure, you could argue the potential of Jordan meddling is a detriment, but surely the long-term potential of Ball and Bridges stands to outweigh that enough to make the Charlotte job more than a “bad” one.
I really hope the Hornets don’t go for D’Antoni.
Is Snyder wanting to coach this year? Or wait out his options next year?
Snyder wants the Spurs. So he will take this year off. Think Pop may retire after upcoming season at least was last heard. Probably will go with MD. Not sure at this time will go elsewhere with draft ahead and more.
The strategy where Atkinson waits another year, if that was the case, will fail because he won’t get another HC for a while after this. Agree w/DXC. And so, I doubt that was the strategy.
1)He got a big raise from his current rich owners.
2)GSW are winners and have a promising “second timeline” ready to go. Arc2 & Sulli
3) I posted at the time, Atkinson will make new enemies in Charlotte. He could see something like that coming.
4) And Kerr does not seem like he burns to coach. He may retire before Popovich does!
Unless he knows Kerr is headed out, this is mostly a bet by Atkinson that he probably will take over in GSW. He probably also got a paycheck or used this to get a raise, either way… it’s a pretty standard business move.
Hornets would of been a good move for Atkinson. I guess he sees a future in GS. Good for him if he is getting what he wants. Could be next Warriors coach.
Has to be DAntoni now. He’ll take them to the playoffs. That’s what MJ wants.
D’Antoni isn’t a good HC, though. He’s a good offensive mind, but that’s not the issue in Charlotte. They need more defense, which (supposedly) is why Borrego was fired. We’ll ignore the fact they didn’t give him a rim protector in the middle though, I guess.
D’Antoni is *not* the choice, though. When you say defense to him, he thinks you’re talking about the white picket thing surrounding a yard.
During his disastrous coaching stint in LA, D’Antoni was asked if the team worked on defense in practice. His response was along the lines of “we worked on it for about 30 minutes” like it was some kind of feat.
B.tch move anyway
Lavar Ball is the obvious best available person for the job.
I can’t imagine someone wanting to be rich and not have pressure.
Dear MJ, Psych!!!!
Why not Terry Stotts? Blazers made the playoffs 8 straight times with Stotts as HC.
He would be a nice fit for the Hornets. He’ll get to coach a team of young, talented players and a future superstar in LaMelo Ball.
Because you take Utah all day long if you have a choice.
They never should have fired James Borrego to begin with, and I still maintain that opinion. *This* certainly doesn’t help instill confidence in me in the plan.
Plenty of blame to lay on Atkinson, too. Unless GS is paying him as much (or more) than Charlotte would to stay an assistant, he doesn’t deserve a HC opportunity again.
Keep on riding those coattails, Kenny.
Great news for CHA!
Bad enough they hired useless Borrego, last thing LaMelo needs is another useless HC, right?
Wow, I was ready to give the benefit of the doubt to the Hornets but they truly screwed this up. It’s kinda funny.
I tend to think this reflects more poorly on the Hornets than on Atkinson. One obvious possibility is that they bungled the interview & didn’t recognize that the guy wasn’t 100% committed to taking the job. That they didn’t make everything clear enough so that he could make a concise, no looking back decision. Or…in further discussions he realized that he wasn’t going to have as much authority as he expected. Maybe he found out more detail about plans for trades, draft picks, inside the locker room issues, or maybe limitations on his choice of assistants. And found out that his voice wasn’t going to have as much input as he expected. Either of these scenarios reflect on the team management – not good.
Atkinson should be allowed to change his mind the very last minute, though there should be some repercussions.
The team owners should act accordingly, maybe place a moratorium, say the next 3-5 years, preventing teams from hiring Atkinson for a future head-coaching job.
One does not simply say to no to MJ and gets away clean. LOL.