Charlotte Hornets hire Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson as new head coach
Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson has been hired for the top job with the Charlotte Hornets.
Former Brooklyn Nets head coach and current Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson will be hired as the next head coach of the Charlotte Hornets, with ESPN reporting that he will be handed a four-year contract.
Aktinson’s head coaching experience with the Brooklyn Nets spanned from 2016-20. His figures stands at 118-190 record during his time rebuilding Nets, but he helped guide the team from 20 wins in his first season to a 42-40 record in 2018-19 and a playoff berth.
He was chosen to replace outgoing head coach James Borrego after a seven-week search during which the Hornets interviewed veteran coach Mike D’Antoni, former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts, and assistant coaches Sean Sweeney of Dallas, Charles Lee of Milwaukee and David Vanterpool of Brooklyn. They also interviewed Darvin Ham, who was hired by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Borrego was fired on 22 April following a 43-win season with two years remaining on his contract. He went 138-163 during his four seasons at the helm of the Hornets and they were routed in the play-in tournament for the second straight season.
Atkinson has a reputation as a talent developer and helped turn Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Jarrett Allen and Spencer Dinwiddie into key players for the Nets, as well as elevating D’Angelo Russell to his lone All-Star appearance in 2019.
The Hornets have key pieces in place with guard LaMelo Ball and much-improved forward Miles Bridges, as well as veteran Gordon Hayward, but they have a glaring need at center, which could be addressed in a number of creative ways with the NBA Draft and free agency approaching.
Atkinson is the second Golden State assistant to accept a new job during the Warriors’ playoff this season after fellow assistant Mike Brown accepted the role of head coach of the Sacramento Kings, though both will remain with the Warriors through the end of the NBA Finals.