NBA Rumors: Hornets Considering Mike D'Antoni, Terry Stotts, Kenny Atkinson as New HC

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMay 30, 2022

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 04: Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets reacts to James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets during the second quarter in Game One of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 04, 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 Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Mike D'Antoni, Terry Stotts and Kenny Atkinson are reportedly the "known names still in consideration" for the Charlotte Hornets' head-coaching vacancy, according to NBA writer Marc Stein

"There was some fresh buzz over the weekend that D'Antoni, if he were to be selected as the Hornets' new coach, could bring former Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen with him as an assistant," Stein added.

D'Antoni, 71, has a 672-527 record as an NBA head coach in stints with the Denver Nuggets (1998-99), Phoenix Suns (2003-04 to 2007-08), New York Knicks (2008-09 to 2011-12), Los Angeles Lakers (2012-13 to 2013-14) and the Houston Rockets (2016-17 to 2019-20). He most recently served as a coaching advisor for the New Orleans Pelicans this past season. 

He led both the Suns and Rockets to the postseason four times apiece, though couldn't reach the NBA Finals with either side. But his "Seven Seconds or Less" Suns helped usher in the modern floor-spacing game, and James Harden had his best seasons and won an MVP under D'Antoni in Houston. 

Stotts, 64, most famously served as the Portland Trail Blazers' head coach between the 2012-13 and 2020-21 seasons, going 402-318 in that time and leading the team to eight straight postseason berths. 

He also had head-coaching stints with the Atlanta Hawks (2002-03 to 2003-04) and Milwaukee Bucks (2005-06 to 2006-07). 

Atkinson, 54, served as the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets between the 2016-17 and 2019-20 seasons, going 118-190 in that time with one playoff berth. But he led the franchise through a difficult rebuilding phase, when a disastrous trade with the Boston Celtics in 2013 left the team's cupboard devoid of valuable draft picks (three of those picks would go on to become Jaylen Brown, Markelle Fultz and Collin Sexton). 

Those Nets were known for playing with effort and grit, and Atkinson developed the young talent they did uncover, eventually paving the way for the organization to lure Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to Brooklyn in free agency. However, the team and Atkinson "mutually parted ways" in March 2020.

The Hornets have made promising strides around a young core of LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges, among others. They went 43-39 this past season and qualified for the play-in tournament for the second straight year. 

While that young core has yet to cash in on that opportunity, failing to make the playoffs in both years, the team has also improved its record in each of the past two seasons. Charlotte's goal now is to find the right coach to fully develop an intriguing young group.