Hornets poach top Warriors assistant to fill head coach vacancy

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The Charlotte Hornets have found their new head coach, and it is none other than Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson.

After failing to clinch a playoff berth in the play-in tournament for the second year in a row, the Charlotte Hornets fired head coach James Borrego. That began what was a lengthy search for the Hornets, as they interviewed many candidates, many of whom with head coaching experience. Sure enough they hired one with experience, and who is currently on the Golden State Warriors coaching staff.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Hornets are hiring Warriors assistant and former Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson to be their next sideline boss. Atkinson had met with team owner Michael Jordan on Wednesday, June 8.

Hornets hire Kenny Atkinson as their next head coach

Atkinson got his first crack at a head coaching gig with the Nets in 2016 after two assistant coaching stints with the New York Knicks (2008-12) and Atlanta Hawks (2012-16). It was his third season (2018-19) with the Nets that got attention across the league, as they made a return to the playoffs for the first time since 2015 after going 42-40 on the season. Brooklyn lost in five games to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first-round.

But midway through the 2019-20 season, the team announced that Atkinson was stepping down from his role as head coach. Overall, Atkinson has a 118-190 record as head coach of the Nets.

After his departure from Brooklyn, Atkinson was brought onto Tyronn Lue’s coaching staff with the Los Angeles Clippers. He then left the organization the following season, opting to join Steve Kerr’s staff with Golden State.

The Hornets looked at candidates such as former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel and ex-Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. But at the end of the day, Charlotte felt that Atkinson was the right candidate for the job to help lead the team back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

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