AP sources: Atkinson decides not to coach Charlotte Hornets

Jun 18, 2022, 1:32 AM | Updated: 2:56 pm
FILE - Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson watches during the first half of the team's NBA basketbal...

FILE - Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson watches during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Feb. 1, 2020, in Washington. The Charlotte Hornets have agreed to terms on a contract with Atkinson, now a Golden State Warriors assistant, to become their next coach, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Friday because Atkinson has not yet signed the contract. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

(AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

              Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson, left, talks with assistant coach Mike Brown during a timeout during the first quarter of Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, Friday, June 10, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Charlotte Hornets will have to begin their search again for a head coach because Kenny Atkinson changed his mind and will stay with the NBA champion Warriors after all.

Two people with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Saturday that Atkinson will remain with Golden State as an assistant coach and won’t become the new coach of the Hornets.

Both spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because neither Atkinson nor the Hornets revealed any details of the talks or agreement publicly. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he wouldn’t discuss it until the Hornets announced Atkinson’s hiring.

The move comes more than a week after Atkinson had agreed to a four-year contract. But the contract was never signed, one of the people said.

ESPN first reported that Atkinson had decided not to take the Charlotte job. His decision means Charlotte joins Utah as the lone NBA teams without coaches in place.

The Hornets have three picks, including two in the top 15, of Thursday’s draft and Charlotte may have to make the No. 13, No. 15 and No. 45 selections without a coach in place.

Golden State’s players had exit interviews Saturday ahead of the championship parade Monday, and were thrilled Atkinson had decided to help the Warriors try to chase another championship after Thursday’s Game 6 clincher at Boston.

“That means a lot,” forward Andrew Wiggins said. “He gave up a head coaching job to come back.”

Atkinson was 118-190 in three-plus seasons as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets when that franchise was undergoing a rebuilding process. He has spent the last two seasons as an assistant, first for the Los Angeles Clippers and now the Warriors.

“We knew the amazing job Kenny did when he was in Brooklyn. That doesn’t get talked about enough,” Golden State guard Jordan Poole said. “For him to be able to bring all of the knowledge and the insight and the positive emotion and militaristic drive that he has, to already add that to a winning culture is amazing. And we got a ring because of that. … He obviously is extremely invested and believes we can do it again. You want guys like that and people like that.”

The Hornets never announced Atkinson had been hired, presumably because the contract was not signed and because the Warriors were still playing. Another Golden State assistant — Mike Brown — is leaving to become head coach in Sacramento.

The Hornets had talked to several other candidates in their search to replace James Borrego, who was fired in April at the end of his fourth season.

Darvin Ham, Mike D’Antoni and Terry Stotts were known to be on Charlotte’s radar. Ham was hired as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s unclear whether D’Antoni or Stotts would still be interested in Charlotte, or whether the Hornets intend to approach either again.

___

AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds and AP Sports Writer Steve Reed contributed to this report.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) dunks over Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul during the first h...
Associated Press

Murray scores 21 points, Hawks roll past Suns 132-100

PHOENIX (AP) — Trae Young rose up for a 3-pointer in the second half that left his hands way too hard, hurtling toward the basket before slamming off the backboard and through the hoop. Atlanta’s star guard shrugged and ran back down the court with a sheepish grin. Things were going the Hawks way Wednesday […]
24 hours ago
Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, left, guards Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson, right, during ...
Associated Press

Markkanen, Conley power Jazz to 131-128 win over Raptors

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Lauri Markkanen had 28 points and 13 rebounds and Mike Conley added a three-point play and two clutch free throws in the closing minutes to lift the Utah Jazz to a 131-128 win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. “Taking my time, having a little more patience, not just […]
24 hours ago
Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) looks to pass while defended by Minnesota Timberwolv...
Associated Press

Russell, Edwards help Timberwolves beat Warriors in OT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — D’Angelo Russell scored 14 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, Anthony Edwards took over in overtime after Russell fouled out and the Minnesota Timberwolves outlasted the Golden State Warriors 119-114 on Wednesday night. Russell fouled out after two quick whistles in the first minute of overtime. That set the stage […]
24 hours ago
Boston Bruins' Pavel Zacha (not shown) scores on Toronto Maple Leafs' goaltender Ilya Samsonov (35)...
Associated Press

Pavel Zacha scores twice as Bruins beat Maple Leafs 5-2

TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Maple Leafs feel like they can keep up with the NHL-leading Boston Bruins. They just need to do it for three consecutive periods. Pavel Zacha scored twice in the third as Boston surged past the Maple Leafs 5-2 on Wednesday. After a scoreless first period, Toronto trailed 2-1 at the […]
24 hours ago
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) shoots as Houston Rockets center Alperen Se...
Associated Press

Gordon, rookie Eason help Rockets defeat Thunder 112-106

HOUSTON (AP) — Eric Gordon had a season-high 25 points and rookie Tari Eason added career-high 20 to lead the Houston Rockets to a 112-106 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. The Rockets (13-38), who have the worst record in the Western Conference, have won three of their last five games after […]
24 hours ago
Florida guard Will Richard celebrates with fans after the second half of an NCAA college basketball...
Associated Press

Florida upends No. 2 Tennessee 67-54 behind Colin Castleton

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Colin Castleton is accustomed to being double-teamed every time he touches the ball, so he was pleasantly surprised — maybe even downright stunned — when Tennessee opted to guard him with a single defender in the second half. “I’ve got to take advantage of that,” Castleton said. He did. Castleton scored […]
24 hours ago
AP sources: Atkinson decides not to coach Charlotte Hornets