Report: Kenny Atkinson agrees to deal to become next Hornets’ coach

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Kenny Atkinson was surprisingly unstressed about landing the Charlotte Hornets coaching job — his fallback was living in the warm weather of California, working with Stephen Curry and Steve Kerr on a team still playing in the NBA Finals. He was happy where he was.

But the chance to move back into the big seat — and coach LaMelo Ball — was too much to pass up.

Atkinson has agreed in principle to become the next Hornets coach, according to multiple reports. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the story, after that Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer confirmed the news.

Atkinson beat out Mike D’Antoni, who was the other finalist (Atkinson also was a finalist for the Lakers’ coaching job that went to Darvin Ham). Atkinson replaced James Borrego, who was let go at the end of last season.

Atkinson is a player development specialist. He was brought in as the head coach of the rebuilding Brooklyn Nets in 2016 and helped develop players such as Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Caris LeVert. Atkinson helped build a roster and a culture that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving wanted to join (Irving, however, proved not to be an Atkinson fan as a coach).

This is why Atkinson was the right hire in Charlotte, a team with a promising young core of Ball, Miles Bridges, and P.J. Washington. Atkinson’s skills can help build Charlotte from a play-in team to one that can make a real playoff run.

First, however, Atkinson has to finish out his day job, helping guide the Warriors during the NBA Finals.