The Charlotte Hornets were in the market for a new coach this off-season. Their previous coach, James Borrego, was let go after losing the play-in tournament two straight years. They set their sights on Kenny Atkinson, former coach of the Brooklyn Nets and then-assistant for Golden State.
Atkinson and the Hornets originally agreed to a four-year contract in June. However, Atkinson decided to stick with Golden State instead. The Hornets then rehired Steve Clifford, who coached the Hornets from 2013-2018. With the Warriors traveling to Charlotte on Saturday, Atkinson’s decision has come back to the forefront.
“We’re doing great here. Doing great,” Atkinson told Warriors beat writer Monte Poole. “That was really the overwhelming factor. Living where we live, the kids in a great school district. It’s pretty ideal.”
Kenny Atkinson served as an assistant for New York and Atlanta before being hired as head coach of Brooklyn in 2016. During his time with the Nets, Atkinson gained a reputation for building a great culture, taking the Nets from 20 wins in his first year to 42 in 2019. The Nets were able to attract both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in the 2019 off-season, but Atkinson was not able to see the duo on the court before he was let go in 2020.
Atkinson is still a highly respected coach in the NBA community. And he has had other interview opportunities outside of the Hornets’ offer. But for now, he is deciding to remain with the championship-caliber staff in Golden State.
The 3-2 Warriors will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday to face the 2-2 Hornets.
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