Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson has agreed to a four – year contract as the new head coach of Charlotte Hornets, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wozniacki on Friday.
Atkinson will replace James Boreko, who was sacked in April from 138-163 in four seasons.
The Hornets narrowed their search to Atkinson and Mike D’Antoni. The two candidates have already held two meetings with management, including general manager Mitch Kupchak, who later met with owner Michael Jordan later this week.
Atkinson is the second Golden State assistant coach to leave the Warriors and take on a new team. Mike Brown was hired as Sacramento Kings coach next season. Both are with Golden State at the end of the NBA Finals, set in Game 4 against the Boston Celtics on Friday night and trailing Golden State 2-1 in seven best series.
Atkinson was 118-190 in the three-plus years with the Brooklyn Nets, received full restructuring and showed improvement each season until his resignation after the injury-plagued 2019-20 season. He spent the 2020-21 season as an assistant with LA Clippers before joining Steve Kerrin’s staff at Golden State ahead of this run to the NBA Final.
In total, he has spent nine seasons as an NBA assistant, including four with the New York Knicks, three with the Atlanta Hawks and one each with the Clippers and Warriors.
The Hornets have missed the playoffs for six consecutive seasons, the longest drought in owner history and the second longest run behind the Kings (16). But to reach the play-offs, including the All-Star, Charlotte has several construction blocks on the team that went 43-39 in the regular season. Lamelo Paul And Miles BridgesWho is set up as a prohibited free agent.
This past season, Charlotte struggled defensively, allowing 114.9 points per game, which puts her 25th in the league. Atkinson improved the Nets’ defensive prowess every season of his four-year season, taking him from 23rd in 2017 to ninth in 2020.
ESPN statistics and information contributed to this report.