Charlotte Hornets Head Coach Steve Clifford to Step Down, Shifts to Front Office Role

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Steve Clifford, the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets, has announced his decision to step down at the end of the current NBA season, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. With the team already eliminated from playoff contention with a record of 18-57, this marks the eighth consecutive year the Hornets will miss the playoffs.

Despite the possibility of returning as head coach next season, Clifford has opted for a front office role within the franchise, citing a reluctance to commit to the demands of year-round coaching for the 2024-2025 season. This decision is seen as an opportunity for the Hornets to initiate their coaching search early and remain competitive in pursuing top coaching talent.

Steve Clifford
Steve Clifford (Credits: NBA Analysis Network)

The vacancy in Charlotte adds to the coaching market landscape, with the Washington Wizards and Brooklyn Nets also seeking new head coaches. Several assistant coaches from different NBA teams are speculated to be potential candidates for the Hornets’ head coaching position, including Jordi Fernandez, Charles Lee, Chris Quinn, and Kevin Young, among others.

Clifford’s tenure with the Hornets began in the 2022-23 season, marking his second stint with the franchise after previously coaching from 2013 to 2018. Despite efforts to improve the team’s performance, injuries to key players, notably star point guard LaMelo Ball, who played only 22 games before being sidelined for the remainder of the season, have posed significant challenges.

As Clifford prepares to transition to a front office role, the Hornets are positioned to undertake a comprehensive search for their next head coach, aiming to revitalize the team and foster a culture of competitiveness in the upcoming seasons.


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