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Kenny Atkinson won’t become Charlotte Hornets head coach, will stay with Warriors

Andrew Buller-Russ

Just two days after the Golden State Warriors won another NBA Finals, assistant coach Kenny Atkinson is no longer set to join the Charlotte Hornets as their head coach. Last week it had been reported that the Hornets had settled on hiring Atkinson to replace James Borrego, taking over once the playoffs concluded, but that no longer appears to be the case.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Atkinson has decided he prefers to stay as the top assistant on coach Steve Kerr’s staff with the Warriors instead of joining the Hornets as a head coach once again.

For Atkinson, it would have been his second chance to be an NBA head coach, but for whatever reason, he realized it wasn’t for him. Maybe next season he’ll find another opportunity he prefers more.

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Coaches Mike D’Antoni and Terry Stotts were the other two finalists for the gig before the Hornets had reportedly decided on Atkinson. The expectation now is for the decision to come down to one of D’Antoni or Stotts. But it’s possible a new contender could emerge, such as Quin Snyder now that he’s separated from the Utah Jazz and hasn’t landed elsewhere.

With just five days before the 2022 NBA Draft gets underway, we’ll see just how quickly the Hornets come to a decision on their next head coach, but the early favorites center around D’Antoni or Stotts, two other coaches with previous NBA experience in the leading role.

D’Antoni spent last season as an advisor with the New Orleans Pelicans after 16 seasons as a head coach in the NBA. Stotts left the Portland Trail Blazers after eight consecutive playoff seasons at the end of 2021 and he has a total of 13 years as an NBA head coach.

Both coaches would appear to be strong backup plans to Atkinson if that’s ultimately who the Hornets are selecting from.

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