Kenny Atkinson’s tenure as coach of the Charlotte Hornets is over before it begins.
A person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Saturday that citing family matters, Atkinson has changed course and will not take over as coach of the Hornets.
The move comes more than a week after the Golden State Assistant agreed to a four-year deal. But the contract was never signed, according to the person who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity, because neither Atkinson nor the Hornets publicly disclosed any details of the talks or the agreement.
ESPN first reported that Atkinson had decided not to take the Charlotte job.
For the Hornets to have to resume their quest is not ideal for a variety of reasons. This includes the fact that they have three picks, including two in the top 15 of Thursday’s draft. Charlotte may have to make selections #13, #15, and #45 without a coach in hand.
The Hornets had spoken to several other candidates to replace James Borrego, who was fired in April at the end of his fourth season. Darvin Ham, Mike D’Antoni and Terry Stotts were known to be on Charlotte’s radar.
Ham was hired as the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s unclear if D’Antoni or Stotts would still be interested in Charlotte, or if the Hornets intend to close again.
Atkinson’s decision came two days after the Warriors won the NBA championship. One of Golden State’s assistants – Mike Brown – is leaving to become a head coach in Sacramento.
The Hornets never announced that Atkinson had been hired, presumably because the contract was unsigned and because the Warriors were still playing. Golden State coach Steve Kerr also didn’t speak about Atkinson’s upcoming move in recent days, only saying he wouldn’t do so until the hiring became official.
Atkinson was 118-190 in more than three seasons as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets when that franchise went through a rebuilding process. He has spent the last two seasons as an assistant, first with the Los Angeles Clippers and now with the Warriors.
His decision means Charlotte will be the only NBA team coming to Utah without a current coach.
Associated Press coverage.
Get more from the National Basketball Association Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more.