According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Hornets owner Michael Jordan will be meeting with the two finalists for the vacant Charlotte head coach position: Golden State assistant Kenny Atkinson and Mike D’Antoni, who spend this past season as a coaching advisor for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak relieved former coach James Borrego after he compiled a 138-163 record in four seasons. Despite a dip in wins from his first to the second year, the team improved in his final two seasons and were in a position to make a playoff runs the following season had he stayed. Instead, Charlotte brass elected to look elsewhere.
Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson is one of the two finalists.
He spent four seasons as an assistant coach with the Knicks and another three with Atlanta before taking the Brooklyn job in 2016. In three and a half seasons as head coach for the Nets, Atkinson took over what could be considered the most challenging rebuild job in the NBA, but each year improved the overall record before the Nets returned to the playoffs in 2019.
He compiled a 118-190 overall record as Nets head coach before resigning midway through the 2019-2020 season. Atkinson has spent the following two years as an assistant under Coach Ty Lue with the Clippers and Coach Steve Kerr with the Warriors.
D’Antoni is the second finalist for the spot as the more experienced coach. From 2003-2008, D’Antoni ran the “Seven Seconds or Less” Phoenix Suns. In that run, D’Antoni compiled a 253-136 record, won 2004-05 NBA Coach of the Year, helped Steve Nash win back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards, and took the Suns to two consecutive Western Conference Finals in 2005 and 2006.
He would then spend four seasons with the Knicks, two with the Lakers, and the Houston Rockets from 2016-2020. In that run, he turned James Harden into the 2018 Most Valuable Player, took the Rockets to the Western Conference Finals in 2018, narrowly defeating the Warriors, and won NBA coach of the year in 2016-17. He compiled a total record of 217-101 in his Houston tenure.
Hornets owner Michael Jordan is expected to meet with Atkinson on Tuesday, with D’Antoni set for later this week.