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#pounditThursday, June 1, 2023

Hornets could have surprising reunion with ex-head coach?

Michael Jordan in a suit

Dec 21, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan unveils the new Charlotte Hornets logo at halftime during the game against the Utah Jazz at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Jordan may be calling an unexpected audible as the Charlotte Hornets continue to search for their next head coach.

Veteran NBA writer Marc Stein reported this week that former Hornets coach Steve Clifford has emerged as a candidate to return to the team as their head coach. The Charlotte job remains open in the wake of Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson’s backing out of an agreement to become Hornets coach.

Clifford, 60, coached Charlotte for five seasons from 2013 to 2018. He compiled a record of 196-214 (.478) but did lead the team to their most recent playoff berth in 2016. Clifford then went on to coach the Orlando Magic for three seasons following his Hornets stint.

A Clifford return to Charlotte would be a shocker, especially since he was fired by the team. Clifford is also a fairly unexciting, defense-first coach who would be guiding a flashy, young roster that thrives in an up-tempo scheme.

After the Atkinson reversal, the Hornets appeared to be considering a more fitting head coach. But they could now be throwing that out the window in the name of familiarity.


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