Hornets Coach Steve Clifford Stepping Down

Sources have disclosed that Steve Clifford plans to vacate his position as head coach of the Charlotte Hornets at the conclusion of the season. He’s currently in negotiations to transition into a front office position within the organization.

Clifford shared this decision with his coaching staff and players on Wednesday morning. He will continue to lead the team through their remaining seven games, beginning with tonight’s match against the Portland Trail Blazers.

According to sources, Charlotte’s recently appointed executive vice president of basketball operations, Jeff Peterson, along with co-owners Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin, expressed willingness to retain Steve Clifford as coach for the upcoming season. However, Clifford, 62, said that he wasn’t ready to commit to the demanding year-round responsibilities of head coaching for the 2024-2025 season. Additionally, the veteran coach allegedly didn’t want to keep the franchise from being able to compete for the best coaches available by delaying his decision.

In the upcoming offseason, the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards, both currently under interim head coaches, are anticipated to join the Hornets in seeking new coaching leadership.

Insider sources from ESPN revealed that a list of assistant coaching prospects is being considered for the Charlotte Hornets coaching position. Notable names include Charles Lee from Boston, Jordi Fernandez from Sacramento, Chris Quinn from Miami, Kevin Young from Phoenix, and several others.

The attractiveness of the Hornets coaching job has increased with the emergence of Brandon Miller, the talented No. 2 overall pick, as a potential future star in the league. Coupled with a promising core of young players and an abundance of future first-round picks, the Hornets offer a compelling opportunity for a coach to build and shape a competitive roster.

With All-Star LaMelo Ball limited to 22 games this season due to an ankle injury, the Hornets have struggled throughout the year — they enter Wednesday with an 18-57 record.