Kenny Atkinson backed out of his agreement to coach the Hornets.
Where will Charlotte turn now?
Maybe to former Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni or former Hornets coach Steve Clifford.
Per league sources, Clifford met with owner Michael Jordan and Kupchak this week to discuss the position. Jordan also did the same with Mike D’Antoni,
As the other finalist before Atkinson got hired, D’Antoni would be a logical backup choice.
Clifford is certainly an interesting addition to the mix.
Charlotte fired him in 2018. He then coached the Magic a few years before stepping away as they entered rebuilding. Clifford is a good coach who communicates straightforwardly and usually implements a sound defense but isn’t overly creative offensively.
However, if they really thought Clifford is the best person for the job, why didn’t the Hornets strongly consider him before choosing Atkinson? This looks like a jilted team overemphasizing comfort. Teams re-hiring a prior coach usually fails, because it’s often done for the wrong reasons.
Perhaps Charlotte initially considered Clifford and just kept it under wraps. That seems unlikely with a coaching search that had leaks at every step.
Meeting with Jordan was a final step before the Hornets chose Atkinson. Perhaps, Charlotte is nearing another decision.