Kenny Atkinson’s tenure as coach of the Charlotte Hornets has ended before it even began.
A person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Saturday that Atkinson had reversed course, citing family matters and would not take over as coach of the Hornets,
The move comes more than a week after the Golden State subsidiary agreed to a four-year contract. But according to the person who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, the contract was never signed because neither Atkinson nor the Hornets publicly disclosed any details of the talks or agreement.
ESPN was the first to report that Atkinson had decided not to take Charlotte’s job.
Re-opening your search to the Hornet isn’t ideal for a number of reasons. Among them is the fact that he has three picks, including two from the top 15 of Thursday’s draft. Charlotte may have to choose No. 13, No. 15 and No. 45 without a coach.
The Hornets talked to several other candidates in their quest to replace James Borrego, who was fired at the end of their fourth season in April. Darwin Hamm, Mike D’Antoine and Terry Stotts were known to be on Charlotte’s radar.
Haim was appointed as the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. It is unclear whether D’Antoine or Stotts will still be interested in Charlotte, or whether the Hornets intend to make contact again.
Atkinson’s decision comes two days after the Warriors won the NBA Championship. A Golden State assistant — Mike Brown — is on his way to head coach in Sacramento.
The Hornets never announced that Atkinson had been hired, probably because the contract had not been signed and because the Warriors were still playing. Golden State coach Steve Kerr also won’t talk about Atkinson’s upcoming move in recent days, saying only that he won’t until the hiring becomes official.
Atkinson was 118–190 in three-plus seasons as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets while the franchise was undergoing a rebuilding process. He has spent the last two seasons as an assistant, first for the Los Angeles Clippers and now for the Warriors.
Their decision means that Charlotte has joined Utah as the only NBA team currently without coaches.
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