Report: Kenny Atkinson Choosing to Stay with Warriors over Hornets 'Stunned' CHA

Doric SamJune 20, 2022

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 10: Assistant coach Kenny Atkinson reacts to a play in the third quarter against the Boston Celtics during Game Four of the 2022 NBA Finals at TD Garden on June 10, 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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The Charlotte Hornets thought they had found their next head coach in Kenny Atkinson, so his decision to reverse course and remain with the Golden State Warriors as an assistant undoubtedly caught Charlotte by surprise.

NBA insider Marc Stein reported the Hornets were left "stunned" when Atkinson decided to stay put.

Stein noted that Atkinson had already gotten started with the process of identifying potential assistant coaches for himself "before the abrupt change of heart emerged Saturday afternoon."

Atkinson had reportedly agreed to a four-year deal to become Hornets head coach. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Golden State's playoff run that culminated with the 2022 NBA championship likely influenced Atkinson's decision to back out of the deal.

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

According to Wojnarowski, Mike D'Antoni and Terry Stotts were also considered finalists for Charlotte's opening before Atkinson was offered the job. It would create an awkward situation for the franchise to approach one of them again. The Hornets will likely have to go back to the drawing board in their search for a new head coach.

Charlotte finished 43-39 this past season and fell in the play-in tournament game for the second straight year, extending the team's playoff drought to six consecutive seasons. The Hornets have a promising young roster led by All-Star point guard LaMelo Ball.

As Charlotte prepares to begin a new search for a head coach, the franchise surely hopes to identify a candidate who actually wants the job this time around.