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#pounditSaturday, August 13, 2022

Kenny Atkinson makes surprising decision regarding Hornets job

Kenny Atkinson in a suit

Oct 27, 2019; Memphis, TN, USA; Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson during the game between the Nets and the Grizzlies at the FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte Hornets are going to have to reopen their head coaching search after a surprising about-face from Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson.

Reports emerged last week that Atkinson had agreed to a four-year deal to become the Hornets’ new coach once the Warriors’ playoff run concluded. On Saturday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Atkinson had changed his mind and decided not to go to Charlotte in order to remain with Golden State.

This is hugely surprising for a number of reasons. Atkinson to Charlotte certainly seemed like a done deal, and it’s very rare to see an assistant coach turn down a head coaching opportunity in order to remain an assistant elsewhere. It is possible that Atkinson will see his responsibilities expand with the Warriors, as lead assistant Mike Brown is taking a head job elsewhere.

The Hornets will have to restart their process, though the good news is the field hasn’t narrowed and only the Utah Jazz are still trying to fill an opening. One wonders if Charlotte might circle back to the apparent runner-up for the position if he’s still willing to take it.

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