Hornets dismiss Clifford after five seasons

Move follows the hiring of new GM Mitch Kupchak

The Charlotte Hornets fired coach Steve Clifford on Friday, clearing the way for new GM Mitch Kupchak to make his own hire. (Jeremy Brevard / USA TODAY Sports)

The Charlotte Hornets are clearing the deck for new president and general manager Mitch Kupchak.

The team announced Friday it had relieved head coach Steve Clifford of his duties after a second consecutive 36-46 season.

Clifford, 56, helped revive the franchise by taking the Hornets to the playoffs in 2014 and 2016 and leaves with a 196-214 record in five seasons with the team. Clifford missed 21 games this season on medical leave due to intense headaches caused by sleep deprivation.

Charlotte joins several teams in the hunt for a new head coach, including the New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Milwaukee Bucks and Memphis Grizzlies.

Clifford figures to be in play for some of those openings, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.