Skip to main content

4 Charlotte Hornets head coach candidates to replace Steve Clifford

Charlotte Hornets, Steve Clifford
Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Back when Michael Jordan sold his majority shares of the Charlotte Hornets, it was just a sign of more changes to come. Now we’re seeing them in the form of Steve Clifford stepping down from his head coaching duties, effective at the end of the regular season.

While Clifford is expected to remain with the Hornets in an advisory role, where he’ll work in the front office, the Hornets will still need a new head coach, and there are four names already being linked to Charlotte.

Related: NBA MVP race 2023-24: Jokic, SGA, and Doncic vying for MVP award

Charlotte Hornets already have a short-list of head coach replacements

NBA: Miami Heat at Toronto Raptors
Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte Hornets are expected to cast a wide net in their head coaching search, but ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski already highlighted a quartet of possible replacements.

  • Jordi Fernandez, Sacramento Kings: Linked to several NBA head coaching vacancies in recent years, Fernandez has been coaching since 2006 and currently doubles as the head coach of Team Canada too. With previous head coaching experience (G-League) and having worked with several types of personalities, Fernandez will be a popular candidate in this hiring cycle.
  • Charles Lee, Boston Celtics: A top assistant on several strong coaching staffs, including the Hawks and Bucks under Mike Budenholzer and the Lakers under Darvin Ham, Lee became Joe Mazzulla’s right-hand man in 2023. Interviewed for four head coaching vacancies last season, Lee, 38, is viewed as a rising star in the NBA.
  • Chris Quinn, Miami Heat: After ten seasons with the Heat working closely with Erik Spoelstra and even filling in for him during brief absences, Quinn is viewed as one of the top assistant coaches in the NBA. The former point guard has a strong understanding of what a winning culture looks like and could look to replicate Miami’s success in Buzz City too.
  • Kevin Young, Phoenix Suns: The Suns cleaned house when Frank Vogel took over coaching duties, except for Kevin Young, who still remains, acting as the team’s ‘offensive coordinator.’ Devin Booker has reportedly gone to bat for Young to become an NBA head coach in the past, and now he’s the highest-paid assistant coach in basketball. But the Hornets could see value in hiring Young too, who has gone through three different stints as a G-League head coach.

According to Woj, the Hornets have already received permission to interview Fernandez, Lee, and Young. They’ve also been granted access to interview Denver’s David Adelman, son of longtime NBA head coach Rick Adelman.

The names listed above are all strong candidates to become the next coach of the Hornets, but we expect to see a lot more options emerge over the next few weeks.

Related: NBA Rookie of the Year 2023-24: Victor Wembanyama stretches lead into April

Mentioned in this article:

More About: