CHARLOTTE — The head coaching search for the Charlotte Hornets that appeared to be finished over a week ago is back underway.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson has reportedly changed his mind and will not become the next coach of the Hornets. While it was reported on June 10 that Atkinson and the Hornets had agreed in principle to a four-year deal, the contract was never signed and the 55-year-old coach will instead remain in Golden State.
Atkinson, fresh off of a championship victory with Golden State, won his first championship on the sidelines Thursday night as the Warriors pulled away to a 103-90 Game 6 win over the Boston Celtics.
On Saturday, he informed Charlotte and Golden State of his decision to stay in San Francisco, and instead become the top assistant with Golden State. He is promoted to the position vacated by Mike Brown, who recently accepted the head coaching job with the Sacramento Kings.
Hornets owner Michael Jordan and general manager Mitch Kupchak will now go back to the drawing board to find the replacement for ex-coach James Borrego, possibly targeting the other coaches the team had narrowed in on throughout the search. Longtime NBA head coaches Mike D’Antoni and Terry Stotts joined Atkinson as Charlotte’s top three candidates for the job, per sources.
Because the Hornets haven’t been to the playoffs since the 2015-16 season and haven’t won a playoff series in more than two decades, Jordan and Kupchak are hopeful that a new coach can guide and build a young Hornets team led by LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges to sustained success.