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Steve Clifford very happy with Charlotte Hornets' offseason

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Clifford offered insight into the Hornets' free agency process, how the team is improving during the offseason, and spoke on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's recovery.

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Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford is very happy with the team's offseason moves and development, he said in an interview last week.

Clifford spoke to Chris Kroeger of FAN 610 AM on Friday, where the two touched on just about everything: the Hornets' free agency, how new addition Roy Hibbert will fit in, and even the work ethic of Aaron Harrison. You can listen to the interview in full here.

Some highlights from the interview:

  • Clifford referred to Nicolas Batum as the "glue guy" on the Hornets, and said he fills the role Josh McRoberts had a few seasons ago. Re-signing him was — no surprise — the Hornets' top priority.
  • Clifford took Marvin Williams out to breakfast to remind him how important he is to the Hornets. Marvin stayed in Charlotte for the culture and deep ties to North Carolina, and the fact that he took less money to stay is evidence of that.
  • Clifford is ecstatic to have Brian Roberts and Ramon Sessions back. He loves their high character and tendency to "play the right way". He also said Sessions mitigates the loss of Lin fairly well, too.
  • Speaking of Lin, Clifford applauded his versatility and willingness to play any role asked of him. He's talked to Sessions about taking on a similar role. In other words, we're going to see Sessions sharing the floor with Kemba Walker this season.
  • Clifford believes Hibbert will benefit greatly from the culture in Charlotte. He suspects Hibbert tried to expand his game too much and lost his edge after becoming an All-Star. Expectations were high, and Hibbert took a step back. That won't be the case in Charlotte.
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been cleared for everything except full-contact play. He'll definitely be 100 percent healthy by training camp. He's currently in Charlotte working on his jumper and strengthening his shoulder.
  • The Eastern Conference is much better. Clifford cited the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks, and the New York Knicks as improved, and expects the division to be somewhat of a dogfight.
  • Aaron Harrison is working so hard that Clifford sent him home for a week of rest. He, Jeremy Lamb, MKG, Kemba, and Frank Kaminsky have been in Charlotte working out for most of the summer.
Clifford is notoriously blunt and honest about his team, so it was a pleasant surprise to hear him be so upbeat about the current state of the Hornets. It sounds like everyone is focused on basketball, with only Marvin taking some (well-deserved) time off. As a coach, that's a dream come true.

We are roughly three months from the beginning of the regular season, and it can't get here soon enough.