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The Charlotte Hornets have agreed to a four-year deal with Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson to become their new head coach, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium first reported that the parties were approaching an agreement.
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Atkinson met with Charlotte Hornets officials on Wednesday, including owner Michael Jordan, and the franchise has decided that the former Nets coach will be its new head coach, sources said. Atkinson brings development and defensive structure to a young and talented roster. https://t.co/MqlwGJxzz9
The Athletic’s Charania and Sam Amick reported on June 3 that Atkinson had “emerged as a frontrunner” for the position and had a scheduled meeting with team officials, including chairman Michael Jordan.
Atkinson would replace James Borrego, who was fired in April after four seasons after coaching the team to a record of 138-163 during his tenure.
Atkinson spent the 2021-22 season as an assistant coach under Steve Kerr with the Warriors. He is best known for leading the way in rebuilding the Brooklyn Nets and taking the team to the playoffs in his third season as head coach in 2018/19. Atkinson and the Nets agreed to part ways in the middle of the next season, and he has a record of 118-190 as head coach.
The Hornets went 43-39 in 2021-22. It was the second consecutive improvement from 10 wins from the previous season after the team was 33-39 in 2020-21 and 23-42 in 2019-20. But Charlotte lost its first play-in tournament game as No. 10 for the second year in a row, continuing its playoff drought for the sixth straight season.
Atkinson inherits a talented young roster highlighted by point guard LaMelo Ball.
The 20-year-old was named to his first All-Star Game in 2021-22 as an injury replacement. He averaged 20.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 7.6 assists, the latter finishing ninth in the NBA. The Hornets offense was fourth in the NBA regular season with 115.3 points per game.
Charlotte will also have the chance to add another talented player to the NBA draw on June 23, towards the end of the No. 13 roster raffle.
With Atkinson now at the helm, the Hornets will continue to pursue the success that has eluded the franchise for years.