April 16, 2024

Steve Clifford stepping down as Hornets coach, sources say

Steve Clifford is stepping down as the Charlotte Hornets‘ coach on the finish of the season and is working to finalize a entrance workplace function with the franchise, sources informed ESPN.

Clifford, who knowledgeable his assistants and gamers of the information Wednesday morning, will coach the Hornets’ remaining seven video games starting Wednesday night time in opposition to the Portland Trail Blazers, sources stated.

Charlotte’s new government vice chairman of basketball operations Jeff Peterson and co-owners Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin have been open to bringing him again as coach subsequent season, however Clifford, 62, determined he wasn’t ready to decide to the year-round grind of head teaching for the 2024-2025 season, sources stated.

Clifford did not need to hinder the franchise’s potential to compete for the highest younger coaches accessible within the market, and it permits the Hornets to start an instantaneous seek for his successor, sources stated.

The Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards — who each have interim head coaches — are anticipated to hitch the Hornets in teaching searches within the offseason.

Sources informed ESPN that Boston’s Charles Lee, Sacramento’s Jordi Fernandez, Miami’s Chris Quinn, Phoenix’s Kevin Young and others are among the many league’s assistant teaching candidates anticipated to be thought of within the Charlotte course of.

The Hornets have been beset with accidents and absences in Clifford’s return to Charlotte over the previous two seasons. All-Star guard LaMelo Ball performed solely 22 video games earlier than being shut down for the season.

Peterson, who labored with Clifford in Brooklyn, and possession are desirous to create an adviser place that might enable Clifford to stay in Charlotte and impression all elements of the group, sources stated. Those particulars are anticipated to be finalized within the coming weeks, sources stated.

In 10 seasons with Charlotte and Orlando as a head coach, Clifford is 337-457 with 4 journeys to the Eastern Conference playoffs.