The Charlotte Hornets are off to a disappointing start to the season to say the least. They’re 5-15 through their first 20 games and offseason signee Lance Stephenson is struggling from the field. But if you think the Hornets’ disappointing start means head coach Steve Clifford might be on the hot seat soon, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein says not so fast:
ESPN sources say playoff run last season automatically triggered Charlotte picking up third-year team option in Steve Clifford’s contract
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 9, 2014
This development is huge for Clifford’s job security. The Hornets can still fire him if they so choose, but that’s a lot more guaranteed money they’d have to pay him. It’s unlikely they will let him go, considering the job he did last year. The Bobcats (as they were then known) made the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history, and Clifford drew praise from all corners of the NBA for making them into a top-six defense.
This is a rough stretch for Charlotte, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better anytime soon. But that isn’t all on Clifford.