Mike D’Antoni In ‘Strong Position’ To Become Hornets Coach

It appears Mike D’Antoni is set to become the next head coach of the Hornets, with Marc Stein of The Stein Line reporting league sources believe D’Antoni is in “strong position” to land the job.Mike D'Antoni

This report follows one from Heavy.com’s Steve Bulpett late last week that indicated D’Antoni very well could be the favorite to land in Charlotte.

As we relayed earlier, former Lakers coach Frank Vogel and ex-Nets coach Kenny Atkinson are also among those who have interviewed for the job. (Vogel link.)

But D’Antoni and his high-octane offensive philosophy could be the best match for LaMelo Ball and the rest of the Hornets, Bulpett reported.

“I don’t think it’s a done deal or anything, but I know they like the idea of what he can do with LaMelo and their running game,” said a source close to the situation told Bulpett. “If D’Antoni can get those guys on his wavelength, that’s going to be an even more fun team to watch.”

Interestingly, the Hornets were already one of the league’s better running teams under former coach James Borrego, fired after three seasons. Based on history, D’Antoni would likely take that up a notch.

As Bulpett added, the Hornets’ still have roster issues, with the often-injured Gordon Hayward and his large contract being one. He has two years and more than $60 million left on his deal.

“I know Gordon’s situation has been super frustrating,” a rival executive told Bulpett. “He’s such an important player when he’s healthy. He’s talented and he plays the right way. But him staying healthy is a big if.”

Along with the Rockets, D’Antoni has served as head coach of the Nuggets, Knicks, Lakers and “24 Seconds or Less” Suns of Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire fame. He spent this past season as a coaching advisor to Willie Green and the Pelicans.

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