Steve Clifford steps down as Charlotte Hornets Coach; Jordi Fernandez could be his successor

Wednesday, 03 April 2024 at 17:45
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In a significant development for the Charlotte Hornets, Steve Clifford, the seasoned head coach, is set to conclude his tenure at the end of the season. Sources close to the team disclosed to ESPN that Clifford is currently in discussions to secure a front office position within the franchise. The rumors suggest Jordi Fernandez as a potential successor
Clifford, a respected figure in the NBA coaching fraternity, shared this decision with his coaching staff and players on Wednesday morning. He will helm the Hornets in their remaining seven games, commencing with a matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers.
While the Hornets' executive leadership, including newly appointed Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Jeff Peterson, expressed interest in retaining Clifford as head coach for the upcoming season, the 62-year-old coach deliberated and opted not to commit to the rigorous demands of coaching for the 2024-2025 campaign.
Sources reveal that Clifford's choice stemmed from his desire not to impede the organization's pursuit of top coaching talent available in the market. This decision enables the Hornets to initiate a prompt search for Clifford's successor, with the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards also poised to embark on coaching searches during the offseason.
Among the prospective candidates for the coaching role in Charlotte, sources indicate that assistants such as Charles Lee of Boston, Jordi Fernandez of Sacramento, Chris Quinn of Miami, and Kevin Young of Phoenix are expected to be considered.
The allure of coaching the Hornets is amplified by the emergence of Brandon Miller, the second overall pick in the NBA draft, as a promising talent, coupled with a roster comprising young players and an arsenal of future first-round picks.
Clifford's return to Charlotte over the past two seasons has been marred by injuries and absences. Notably, All-Star guard LaMelo Ball appeared in just 22 games before being sidelined for the remainder of the season. The Hornets, with a record of 18-57, grappled with injuries throughout the season, ranking third in the league for most games missed due to injuries.
In recognition of Clifford's contributions and his desire to continue impacting the organization, Peterson and the ownership are actively working to establish an advisory role for him within the franchise. Finalization of these arrangements is expected in the ensuing weeks.
Steve Clifford leaves behind a legacy in Charlotte and Orlando, accumulating a record of 337-457 over ten seasons as head coach, including four playoff appearances in the Eastern Conference.
As the Hornets bid farewell to a pivotal figure in their coaching history, they embark on a new chapter, driven by aspirations of continued growth and success in the competitive landscape of the NBA.

OFFICIAL: Head Coach Steve Clifford announced today that he will step down from his role at the end of the season and is expected to move into an advisory role with the front office next season. The Hornets will begin their search for a new head coach immediately.