According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Charlotte Hornets are expected to hire Kenny Atkinson as their next head coach.
The Charlotte Hornets are closing in on Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson as the franchise’s next head coach, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 10, 2022
It will be a four-year deal according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Golden State assistant Kenny Atkinson has agreed to a four-year deal to become the new coach of the Charlotte Hornets, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 10, 2022
According to Charania’s follow-up tweet, Atkinson met with team officials, including owner Michael Jordan, on Wednesday and the team decided on Friday afternoon. Atkinson is currently on the Golden State Warriors coaching staff, so naturally, any official statement and introductory press conference are likely to come after the 2022 NBA finals. Atkinson has previous head coaching experience with the Brooklyn Nets where he coached from 2016 to 2020. During that span, Atkinson went 118-190 and made one playoff appearance during the 2018-2019 season. The former coach resigned the following season after failing to build a relationship with the incoming star duo of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
During Atkinson’s coaching career he has garnered a reputation for the development and defensive structure which will be welcome on this young Hornets team. With Atkinson’s guidance, the Brooklyn Nets were able to get the most out of their three-guard trio in D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert, and Spencer Dinwiddie. While this season with the Warriors the new Hornets coach had a part in giving guidance to young prospects like Johnathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, and Gary Payton II. Now Atkinson will be tasked with helping players like LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges, and James Bouknight take the next step in their NBA careers.
The Hornets fell in each of the last two play-in tournaments giving up 132 points to the Atlanta Hawks in their final game of the season this year. Jordan and the Hornets are hoping a defensive-minded coach like Atkinson will help improve a team that finished with one of the worst scoring defenses in the NBA and helps lead a team past the play-in and give them their first playoff appearance since the 2015-2016 season.