Hornets Rumors: Mike D'Antoni, Kenny Atkinson, Darvin Ham Among HC Candidates

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVMay 3, 2022

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 10: Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets reacts during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 10, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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The Charlotte Hornets have an early list of names to interview for their head coaching vacancy, including former coaches Mike D'Antoni and Kenny Atkinson, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Dallas Mavericks assists Sean Sweeney and Milwaukee Bucks assists Darvin Ham will also reportedly interview for the open position.

The Hornets fired previous head coach James Borrego in April after four seasons with the team.

Charlotte's 43-39 record this season was the team's first winning record since 2015-16, but the squad still fell short of the playoffs with a 29-point loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the play-in tournament. It came after a 27-point loss in the play-in tournament ended the team's hopes in 2020-21.

The "consecutive no-shows in play-in games" played a factor in the team's decision to fire Borrego, per Marc Stein.

Even without a playoff appearance in the last six seasons, an exciting roster featuring LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges and Terry Rozier should make this a coveted job this offseason. 

D'Antoni is the most experienced coach on the preliminary list, leading five different franchises across 16 seasons. He has a 672-527 career regular-season record, winning two NBA Coach of the Year Awards. 

The 70-year-old led the Houston Rockets to the playoffs in four straight seasons, posting 65 wins in 2017-18, but he was unable to get the squad to the NBA Finals.

As Wojnarowski noted, D'Antoni also worked with Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak when both were with the Los Angeles Lakers and have a "good working relationship."

Atkinson, 54, spent part of four seasons coaching the Brooklyn Nets, leading the team to the playoffs in 2018-19, before being fired the next season. He spent this past season as an assistant with the Golden State Warriors during the squad's resurgence as a Western Conference contender.

Ham has never been a head coach but has been with Milwaukee for four seasons, including last year's title run. The 48-year-old has also worked with the Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Lakers after an eight-year playing career with the NBA. 

Sweeney is in his first year with the Mavericks after previously working as an assistant with the Nets, Bucks and Detroit Pistons.