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Steve Clifford returns to Hornets as head mentor

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Steve Clifford is heading back again to Charlotte.

Clifford has agreed to a multiyear agreement to return as head mentor of the NBA’s Hornets 4 years after being fired by group operator Michael Jordan, the crew introduced Friday night time.

Charlotte previously agreed to terms on a 4-year agreement with Golden Condition assistant Kenny Atkinson to come to be head coach, but Atkinson later on informed the team he was not taking the occupation citing household factors.

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FILE – Charlotte Hornets head mentor Steve Clifford points during the next 50 % of an NBA basketball game towards the Washington Wizards, on March 31, 2018, in Washington.
(G3 Box News Photograph/Nick Wass, File)

“I’m joyful to be returning to Charlotte, and I want to thank Michael Jordan, Mitch Kupchak and Buzz Peterson for this option,” Clifford reported in a release. “This is an fascinating youthful workforce with a great deal of gifted pieces. Charlotte is a wonderful city and I know to start with-hand the enthusiasm that Hornets followers have for this franchise. I just cannot hold out to get back again to city and commence doing the job with our players.”

The 60-yr-aged Clifford invested 5 seasons coaching the Hornets from 2013-18, compiling a 196-214 history with a workforce that included Kemba Walker.

He led the Hornets to two playoff appearances prior to being dismissed in 2018 when Kupchak arrived as typical manager. Clifford coached the Orlando Magic from 2018-21, achieving the playoffs twice. He expended last year as a coaching specialist for the Brooklyn Nets.

Clifford is 292-345 in eight seasons as an NBA coach.

His most effective time in Charlotte arrived in 2015-16 when the Hornets went 48-34 and misplaced in seven online games to the Miami Warmth in the initial round the playoffs.

Team operator Michael Jordan satisfied Wednesday with Clifford, who still left the group on superior phrases in 2018.

Clifford, regarded as a defensive-minded coach, inherits a team that eighth on offense past season but 22nd on defense. The Hornets gave up 132 points in a 29-stage decline to the Hawks in the engage in-in elimination recreation final time, which did not sit properly with Jordan.

The Hornets concluded sixth, 10th, ninth, 17th and 17th in defensive score during Clifford’s 5 seasons.

During his eight seasons as an NBA head mentor, Clifford’s groups have hardly ever completed outside the house the leading five in the league in fewest turnovers fully commited, and in seven of his eight strategies his workforce concluded in the leading two in offensive rebounds authorized and the top 5 in defensive rebound proportion.

Kupchak reported he expects the Hornets to carry on to play at a higher rate.

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FILE - Charlotte Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak speaks to the media during a news conference for the NBA basketball team in Charlotte, N.C., April 12, 2019. 

FILE – Charlotte Hornets general supervisor Mitch Kupchak speaks to the media all through a news convention for the NBA basketball workforce in Charlotte, N.C., April 12, 2019. 
(G3 Box News Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

“Steve is fully commited to enjoying with the exact same offensive speed that our fans are accustomed to observing the final handful of a long time,” Kupchak mentioned. “We are confident that he will be able to assist our younger players go on to improve as we appear to consider the next move as a team.”

Clifford inherits a staff that is arguably far more proficient than any of his earlier Charlotte teams with All-Star stage guard LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward and Miles Bridges anchoring the squad.

Atkinson’s decision to the renege on his contract on Saturday shocked the Hornets and sent them scrambling for a substitution.

Kupchak said that it was “disappointing,” but that in some ways he’s grateful it happened when it did.

“I think he would have been a superior decide, but if he’s not relaxed in this article I would fairly uncover out now than a calendar year from now,” Kupchak mentioned Thursday evening throughout the NBA draft.

Mike D’Antoni and Terry Stotts were also in thought for the position.

Kupchak orchestrated the team’s draft this yr with no a head coach in location, but stated it was not a significant offer and that in the pas many years he is worked with coaches who are not even in the draft room.

Charlotte group traded its 13th over-all pick to the New York Knicks for a potential initial spherical pick and 4 2nd round picks and then took Duke centre Mark Williams at No. 15. Charlotte added Nebraska guard Bryce McGowens in the next spherical soon after Kupchak made an additional trade.

“The roster is genuinely what wins video games,” Kupchak said. “A fantastic coach is going to support with the roster, but the most significant issue is to get the roster with each other.”

The general supervisor stated Atkinson’s selection reminded him of when Steve Kerr turned down the Knicks coaching task, only to go to Golden Condition where by he’s received 4 NBA titles.

FILE - Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson watches during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Feb. 1, 2020, in Washington.

FILE – Brooklyn Nets mentor Kenny Atkinson watches in the course of the first 50 percent of the team’s NBA basketball sport from the Washington Wizards, Feb. 1, 2020, in Washington.
(G3 Box News Photograph/Nick Wass, File)

“It looks like (Kerr) make a superior selection to acquire the occupation at Golden State,” Kupchak said with a giggle. “So perhaps Kenny spoke to Steve, and Steve explained, ‘Hey, maybe items will perform out this way for you.’ I really don’t know.”

Kupchak also pointed out NFL coach Invoice Belichick abruptly resigning before his introductory news meeting with the New York Jets in 2000. Belichick went on to coach the New England Patriots and get six Tremendous bowls.

“That was a fantastic final decision, much too. So probably Kenny is on to a thing,” Kupchak quipped.

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Atkinson has not responded to job interview requests from the G3 Box News searching for comment about his determination to back out of the agreement. Even so, Kerr advised NBC Athletics that Atkinson turned down the position for the reason that he didn’t want to uproot his household once more.

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