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Hornets coach Steve Clifford will move to front office after season



Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford is stepping down after the season and currently working to finalize a front office role with the franchise, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Clifford informed his assistants and players of the news Wednesday morning. The New England native will coach Charlotte’s final seven games beginning Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Hornets’ new executive vice president of basketball operations Jeff Peterson and co-owners Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin were open to bringing him back as coach next season.

However, Clifford “wasn’t prepared to commit to the year-round” workload as an NBA head coach for the 2024-2025 season. He thought it was for the best to allow the franchise to pursue top available coaches.

Peterson worked with Clifford and ownership to create an adviser position that will allow Clifford to remain in Charlotte and impact all parts of the organization. The details will be finalized in the weeks ahead.

Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford is 45-112 with team since 2022, 337-457 overall

In 10 seasons with the Hornets (2013-18, 2022-present) and Orlando Magic (2018-21) as a head coach, Clifford is 337-457 with four trips to the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Furthermore, the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards currently have interim head coaches. Both Eastern Conference teams are expected to join the Hornets in coaching searches in the offseason.

According to sources, Boston’s Charles Lee, Miami’s Chris Quinn, Phoenix’s Kevin Young, and Sacramento’s Jordi Fernandez are among the league’s assistant coaching candidates expected to be considered.

The Hornets’ roster is young and talented. Charlotte selected Brandon Miller second overall in last year’s draft. He made a career-high seven 3-pointers against the Cleveland Cavaliers last Wednesday, tying the Hornets’ franchise rookie record for most in a single game.

Though, Charlotte has dealt with a number of injuries in Clifford’s return to the Hornets over the past two seasons. All-Star guard LaMelo Ball played only 22 games before being shut down for the season.

Ball played only 58 games for Clifford since he was first hired in 2022. He played 75 games in 2021-22. Seth Curry and Cody Martin also suffered season-ending ankle injuries.

Mark Williams (back) remains out indefinitely as well. The Hornets (18-57) have the NBA’s third-most missed games because of injuries this season, per ESPN Stats & Information. Only the Wizards (15-61) and Detroit Pistons (13-62) have worse records.


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