Steve Clifford to step down as Charlotte Hornets coach after season ends


Los Angeles Clippers v Charlotte Hornets

This was expected from the moment Michael Jordan sold his majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets to Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall, let alone when Jeff Peterson replaced Mitch Kupchak as the head of basketball operations. Now it’s official.

Steve Clifford will step aside as Hornets head coach at the end of this season, the team announced Wednesday. He is expected to sign a deal for an advisory role with the new front office to continue with the organization.

“This is the appropriate time for me to step down,” Clifford, 62, said in a statement. “I believe this is best for me and the organization. I’m excited about the future of the Hornets — our young core of players, Jeff’s leadership of our basketball operations and Rick and Gabe’s vision for the organization. I want to thank all the Hornets players and staff for their work the past two seasons and our Hornets fans for their continued support of our team.”

The young Hornets, battling injuries and key players missing time, have gone 45-112 the past two seasons. However, they have seen the development of young players like Brandon Miller who can be a cornerstone of what’s next for the franchise. This was Clifford’s second stint as Hornets coach and overall the team has gone 241-326 under him with a couple of playoff appearances.

“Dating back to our time together in Brooklyn, I have a tremendous amount of appreciation for Coach Cliff, and I understand his decision to step down,” Peterson said. “His basketball knowledge, teaching ability and work ethic are well-respected throughout the NBA. He has had to endure some very difficult circumstances the past two years, and yet our players have continued to compete, work hard and develop…

“While Steve will continue to coach the team for the remainder of the season, we will immediately begin the search process for our next head coach.”

Wisely, the Hornets appear to be focused on younger coaches with a reputation for player development, according to a list from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN: The Kings’ Jordi Fernandez, Celtics’ Charles Lee, Heat’s Chris Quinn, and Suns’ Kevin Young….

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Author : NBC Sports

Publish date : 2024-04-03 16:09:09

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