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Steve Clifford to step down as Charlotte Hornets coach at end of season

Steve Clifford to step down as Charlotte Hornets coach at end of season

Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford is expected to step down from his head coaching position to take a front-office role with the franchise, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Clifford, 62, has led the Hornets to a 45-112 overall record in two seasons, which have been riddled with injuries to young players LaMelo Ball and Mark Williams. 

According to sources, new Charlotte owners Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin were open to bringing him back as coach next season, but Clifford thought he wasn't prepared to commit to the year-round grind of head coaching for the 2024-2025 season. He will coach them for their final 7 games.

Clifford informed his players and staff on Wednesday of the decision, which will allow the Hornets to immediately start searching for a new head coach for next season.

Among the league’s assistant coaching candidates expected to be considered in the Charlotte process are Jordi Fernandez (SAC), Charles Lee (BOS), Chris Quinn (MIA), and Kevin Young (PHX).

Coaching the Hornets next season will be appealing following the emergence of 2023 no.2 overall pick Brandon Miller with the impending return of Ball and Williams. All three players would be paired with the new players acquired from this year’s trade deadline as well as the projected lottery pick in next season’s draft as the organization pivots to a new era of winning basketball under their new ownership.

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