ESPN Sources: Kenny Atkinson has decided he won’t become the Charlotte Hornets’ head coach and will remain with Golden State as top assistant. After being offered job during the NBA Finals, further conversations led Atkinson to believe it would be best to remain with Warriors.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 18, 2022
Following the Warriors’ 2022 NBA Finals victory over the Boston Celtics, it’s fair to assume Atkinson felt differently about leaving a championship team for a small-market fringe playoff contender. According to Wojnarowski, Mike D’Antoni and Terry Stotts were the other two finalists for the job originally and the organization will now restart the hiring process.
Mike D'Antoni and Terry Stotts were the other two finalists for the job, sources said. Charlotte will have to restart process now. https://t.co/X5yMR8fybK— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 18, 2022
It appears that the Hornets front office has yet to be notified of Atkinson’s decision, but if it’s true they’ll undoubtedly find out soon.
This situation gets crazier with each piece of news that comes out. It’s really starting to seem like Atkinson won a championship and then immediately got cold feet.
Kenny Atkinson had phoned all of Charlotte’s assistant coaches, and was planning to meet with every Hornets staffer next week after arriving in town ahead of the NBA Draft. Certainly a stunning turn of events.— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 18, 2022
And now, the cherry on top. I’m really curious to see what comes out about this in the coming days and weeks.
CONFIRMED: Kenny Atkinson decides he will NOT become the Hornets head coach. He will remain an assistant with the Warriors. (@wojespn had it first.)— Will Kunkel (@WillKunkelFOX) June 18, 2022
I’m told several people with the Hornets learned the news via Twitter.
The NBA Draft is five days away and the Hornets are once again without a coach. Even if Mitch Kupchak and his front office extend the offer to D’Antoni or Stotts, they wouldn’t have time to iron out paperwork, fly to Charlotte, settle in and begin coaching prior to draft night anyway.
It’s hard to know exactly what influenced Atkinson to back out at this stage in the offseason, but the timing can be described in many ways; strange, puzzling, suspicious, embarrassing, and at least a little bit funny. At The Hive will have more updates on this once they become available, but until then, Charlotte is coach-less for the second time in one offseason.