Woj: Kenny Atkinson Returning to Warriors After Agreeing to Be Hornets Head CoachJune 18, 2022
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.
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.