Kenny Atkinson makes surprising decision regarding Hornets job
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.
ESPN Sources: Kenny Atkinson has decided he won’t become the Charlotte Hornets’ head coach and will remain with Golden State as top assistant. After being offered job during the NBA Finals, further conversations led Atkinson to believe it would be best to remain with Warriors.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 18, 2022
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.