Clifford returns for second run as Hornets coach


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Steve Clifford has agreed to a deal to return as the Charlotte Hornets‘ coach, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The 60-year-old Clifford spent five seasons coaching the Hornets, compiling a 196-214 record with a team that included Kemba Walker. He led the Hornets to two playoff appearances prior to being fired in 2018 when general manager Mitch Kupchak arrived.

He coached the Orlando Magic from 2018-21 and worked last season as a coaching consultant for the Brooklyn Nets.

The Hornets finished 6th, 10th, 9th, 17th, and 17th in defensive rating during Clifford’s five seasons.

Charlotte was 22nd in the NBA this past season under James Borrego, who was fired in April. The Hornets gave up 132 points in a 29-point loss to the Hawks in the play-in elimination game last season.

The Hornets coaching search was rebooted last week when Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson reneged on a four-year agreement to coach the team.

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