Woj: Kenny Atkinson Returning to Warriors After Agreeing to Be Hornets Head Coach

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 18, 2022

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 16: Assistant coach Kenny Atkinson of the Golden State Warriors reacts against the Boston Celtics during the first quarter in Game Six of the 2022 NBA Finals at TD Garden on June 16, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. 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 Elsa/Getty Images)
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Kenny Atkinson won't be heading to Charlotte after all.

The Golden State Warriors' top assistant will remain with the team and won't become the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets after reportedly agreeing to a four-year deal to take that position, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Per Woj: "After being offered [the] job during the NBA Finals, further conversations led Atkinson to believe it would be best to remain with Warriors."

Before Atkinson was offered the gig, Mike D'Antoni and Terry Stotts had been the other finalists for the job, according to Woj.

Nick Carboni @NickCarboniWCNC

Regardless of who <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Hornets?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Hornets</a> bring in now — D’Antoni or otherwise — what a strange situation to walk in to.

Jay King @ByJayKing

This man really won a championship and said “nahhhhh, I can’t do that whole Hornets thing” lol.

Jason Huber @_JasonHuber

This is so embarrassing for the Hornets. So embarrassing

Dalton Johnson @DaltonJ_Johnson

Being around Kenny Atkinson at one of the Warriors’ NBA Finals practices, he referred to coaching with Steve Kerr and living in the Bay Area as “paradise.”<br><br>This obviously is a huge turn of events for the Warriors and Hornets, but Atkinson clearly couldn’t be happier where he is <a href="https://t.co/zhD8XSk0WF">https://t.co/zhD8XSk0WF</a>

Atkinson, 55, served as an assistant for head coach Steve Kerr this past season after being an assistant on the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2020-21 season.

He was the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets for four seasons before that, going just 118-190 but helping rebuild the Nets and develop young talent despite the team being devoid of valuable draft capital given away in an infamous and lopsided 2013 trade with the Boston Celtics.

That rebuild led to a playoff berth in the 2018-19 season and helped pave the way for an organizational rebirth that led to the signing of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Prior to Brooklyn, Atkinson served as an assistant for the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks.

His background as a rebuilder made him a natural fit for a Hornets team building around young star LaMelo Ball and a nice supporting cast. That group went 43-39 and reached the play-in tournament, though they couldn't earn a playoff spot.

Despite a third straight season of improvement, the Hornets chose to fire James Borrego, and it appeared they had their replacement in Atkinson.

Now, it's back to the drawing board in the coaching search.