Steve Clifford: This Is ‘Appropriate Time’ To Step Down As Hornets Coach

The Charlotte Hornets have confirmed that Steve Clifford is stepping down as coach after the season, as first reported by NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Hoops Wire.Steve Clifford, Charlotte Hornets, NBA

“This is the appropriate time for me to step down,” Clifford said in a statement released by the team. “I believe this is best for me and the organization. I’m excited about the future of the Hornets — our young core of players, (GM Jeff Petersen‘s) leadership of our basketball operations and (team owners Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin‘s) vision for the organization.

“I want to thank all the Hornets players and staff for their work the past two seasons and our Hornets fans for their continued support of our team.”

Clifford, 62, reportedly had informed his players and assistant coaches of his decision ahead of the official announcement. 

The Hornets said the search for a new coach will begin immediately. It is likely to span the entire NBA.

“We will look to hire someone that shares our values and vision in developing our young core and creating a culture and identity based on teamwork, accountability and competitiveness,” Peterson said. “We will conduct a thorough search process to select the best head coach for the Hornets moving forward.”

Peterson was brought in from the Nets in February, when he replaced former Charlotte GM Mitch Kupchak. Many felt then that Peterson would want to make his own coaching hire, especially given the Hornets’ struggles.

But per Wojnarowski, Peterson and the Hornets were open to bringing back Clifford for another run. He’s currently finishing his second season in his second run with the franchise.

Clifford coached the Hornets from 2013-18, and then the Orlando Magic for three years, before returning to Charlotte. As of Wednesday, Clifford sported a record of just 45-112 in his two seasons back.

But this year, he’s been missing point guard LaMelo Ball, currently out for the year, and top scoring option Terry Rozier was traded to the Miami Heat in February for what amounted to a draft pick.

Looking for the latest NBA Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow Hoops Wire on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NBA News and Rumors for all 30 teams!

Leave a Reply