After moving on from James Borrego last month, the Charlotte Hornets are beginning to interview candidates for their head coaching vacancy. Early candidates for the gig include Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, Milwaukee Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee, Dallas Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney, Brooklyn Nets assistant David Vanterpool and former Houston Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni, according to ESPN. The interviews will take place in the coming weeks.
Charlotte's interest in D'Antoni was confirmed by CBS Sports' Bill Reiter. D'Antoni has a prior relationship with Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak. The two worked together with the Lakers in Los Angeles from 2012 and 2014 and reportedly had a solid working relationship. Additionally, the opportunity to pair LaMelo Ball with an offensive guru like D'Antoni is intriguing to Charlotte. Charlotte's interest in D'Antoni was confirmed by CBS Sports' Bill Reiter.
D'Antoni most recently served as an assistant for the Brooklyn Nets last season. Prior to that, he served as Houston's head coach from 2016 to 2020, and he has also previously served as the head coach of the Denver Nuggets (1998-1999), Phoenix Suns (2003-2008), New York Knicks (2008-2012) and Lakers (2012-2014). He is certainly the most experienced of Charlotte's early candidates.
The Hornets had hoped that Borrego would be the coach to lead them to their first playoff appearance since 2016, and first playoff series win since 2002, but things didn't turn out that way. After being eliminated from playoff contention in the play-in tournament two years in a row, Charlotte decided that it was time to go in a different direction.
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"I want to thank JB for his hard work and commitment during these past four seasons," Kupchak said of Borrego's dismissal last month. "Beyond his work as a coach, he is a tremendous person. I wish him and his family the best in the future.
"These decisions are always difficult," he added. "Having said that, we have a talented, young core of players which has me very excited about the future of the Hornets. We will begin the search for our new head coach immediately."
With a plethora of young talent on the roster, Charlotte's gig should be a pretty enticing one to candidates, and it will be interesting to see in which direction the team ultimately goes.