Report: Hornets hire former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson

·2 min read

The Charlotte Hornets have reached an agreement to hire former Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson as their next head coach, according to Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer.

Atkinson, who is replacing the fired James Borrego, will receive a four-year deal, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The 55-year-old coach is currently working as an assistant for the Golden State Warriors under Steve Kerr. The team is currently tied 2-2 with the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

Atkinson currently holds a head coaching record of 118-190 after four seasons with Brooklyn. While his record is lackluster, the Nets saw a rise from one of the worst positions in the league to the playoffs in his third year. His tenure came to an end toward the end of the 2019-20 season.

Now, after one season with the Los Angeles Clippers and one with the Warriors, Atkinson is headed back to the head coaching ranks.

Can Kenny Atkinson help LaMelo Ball take the next step?

An NBA head coach has plenty of responsibilities, but Atkinson will be walking into a situation with a clear primary task: realize LaMelo Ball's superstar potential.

Since the Hornets drafted Ball third overall in the 2020 draft, the point guard has looked like the piece for the franchise to build around. He won NBA Rookie of the Year in 2021, then took another step forward this season averaging 20.1 points, 7.6 assists and 6.7 rebounds with .554 true shooting, earning his first career All-Star nod.

That's not normal stuff for a player who doesn't turn 21 until August. For a franchise like the Hornets, pretty much the only path to the promised land is to strike gold in the draft, develop the player into a premier talent and build a functioning supporting cast and culture around him. That last part will be up to Atkinson.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 24: Head Coach Kenny Atkinson of the Brooklyn Nets looks on against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on February 24, 2020 in New York City.  Orlando Magic defeated the Brooklyn Nets 115-113. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Kenny Atkinson spent four years as head coach of the Nets. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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