Report: Warriors' Kenny Atkinson Agrees to 4-Year Contract as Hornets' New Head Coach

Doric SamJune 10, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 5: Assistant Coach Kenny Atkinson of the Golden State Warriors looks on during Game Two of the 2022 NBA Finals on June 5, 2022 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. 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 Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The Charlotte Hornets have agreed to a four-year deal with Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson to be their new head coach, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium first reported the sides were nearing an agreement.

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Atkinson met with Charlotte Hornets officials — including owner Michael Jordan — on Wednesday and the franchise has decided on the former Nets coach as its new head coach, sources said. Atkinson brings development and defensive structure to a young and talented roster. <a href="https://t.co/MqlwGJxzz9">https://t.co/MqlwGJxzz9</a>

The Athletic's Charania and Sam Amick reported on June 3 that Atkinson had "emerged as a front-runner" for the position and had a scheduled meeting with team officials, including chairman Michael Jordan.

Atkinson would replace James Borrego, who was fired after four seasons in April after coaching the team to a 138-163 record in his tenure.

Atkinson spent the 2021-22 season as an assistant coach under Steve Kerr with the Warriors. He's best-known for spearheading the Brooklyn Nets' rebuild, taking the team to the playoffs in his third season as head coach in 2018-19. Atkinson and the Nets mutually agreed to part ways a little over midway through the following season, and he has a career 118-190 record as a head coach.

The Hornets went 43-39 in 2021-22. It was the second straight 10-win improvement from the previous season after the team went 33-39 in 2020-21 and 23-42 in 2019-20. But Charlotte lost its first play-in tournament game as the No. 10 seed for the second year in a row, continuing its playoff drought for the sixth consecutive season.

Atkinson is inheriting a talented young roster that is highlighted by point guard LaMelo Ball.

The 20-year-old was named to his first All-Star Game in 2021-22 as an injury replacement. He averaged 20.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 7.6 assists, the latter of which ranked ninth in the NBA. The Hornets offense ranked fourth in the NBA in the regular season with 115.3 points per game.

Charlotte will also have a chance to add another talented player in the NBA draft on June 23, picking near the end of the lottery with the No. 13 selection.

With Atkinson now at the helm, the Hornets will continue chasing the success that has eluded the franchise for years.