Report: Mike D’Antoni ‘serious candidate’ for Hornets coach

Coach Mike D'Antoni at Houston Rockets v Charlotte Hornets
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball is one of the NBA’s most exciting young players – a creative ballhandler and passer who’s already an All-Star and whose adventurous shooting befits an even higher ceiling.

Imagine him in Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo, heliocentric system.

Charlotte’s coaching search could make that reality.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

D’Antoni has been identified as a serious candidate early in the process, especially because of the possibility of pairing him with young point guard LaMelo Ball, sources said.

D’Antoni will meet with the Hornets along with several current assistant coaches whom Charlotte requested permission to speak to, including Golden State’s Kenny Atkinson, Milwaukee’s Darvin Ham and Dallas’ Sean Sweeney, sources said.

It’s unclear whether D’Antoni is a more serious candidate than anyone else. But for whatever reason, he’s singled out here.

D’Antoni worked for current (for now?) Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak with the Lakers. After that job, D’Antoni did well with the Rockets until walking away following a contract dispute. At 70, D’Antoni is no longer as ahead of the curve as he once was, but he remains a savvy offensive tactician.

As for Charlotte’s abysmal defense, D’Antoni probably isn’t the answer. Ham and Sweeney look like stronger candidates on that front. Atkinson’s biggest strength reputationally is player development.

The reported four candidates already have diverse skill sets and backgrounds. Many other coaches could get interviews, too. It seems to be fairly early in the process.