Charlotte Hornets are rehiring someone they let go of in 2018, Steve Clifford, to be their new head coach, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. The Hornets had initially landed on Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson as their head coach, but Atkinson backed out after the Warriors won the championship. That forced the Hornets to pivot, and they landed on a coach they know quite well.
Clifford coached the Magic from 2013-18 and made the playoffs twice in that span. He was fired at the end of the 2017-18 season and took over the Orlando Magic from there. He took the Magic to the playoffs twice as well, but when Orlando pivoted into a rebuild, the two sides mutually decided to part ways. Now Clifford returns to the Hornets team that gave him his first shot as a head coach.
When Atkinson was hired for the job initially, reports indicated that former Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni and former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts were the two other finalists.
ESPN Sources: Steve Clifford has agreed to a deal to return as the Charlotte Hornets’ coach. Clifford, one of league’s most respected coaches among his peers, led Hornets to two playoff trips in a five-year run that ended in 2018.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 24, 2022
Steve Clifford is returning as the Hornets HC, per @wojespn
Clifford last coached for Charlotte in 2018 pic.twitter.com/jNeVXXqkUP
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 24, 2022