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Just one week after accepting the Hornets’ head coaching job, Kenny Atkinson has decided to do a 180.
Atkinson informed Charlotte brass Saturday that he will remain with the Warriors as the top assistant under head coach Steve Kerr. Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Atkinson made the call to stay in Golden State after having further conversations with the Hornets this week. Atkinson and the Hornets had agreed to a four-year deal, though nothing was officially signed.
Atkinson, 55, just wrapped up his first season as an assistant under Kerr, in which the Warriors were crowned NBA champions for the fourth time since 2015 and seventh overall. Atkinson was well traveled before landing in the bay area, having served as an assistant with the Knicks (2008-12), Hawks (2012-16) and Clippers (2020-21).
Atkinson served as head coach of the Nets from 2016-20, his first and only head coaching gig in the NBA. He went 118-190 in three plus years in Brooklyn, before stepping down as head coach.
With fellow Warriors assistant Mike Brown taking the head coaching job with the Kings, Atkinson will be bumped up to the top assistant on Kerr’s staff for the 2022-23 season.
It’s back to square one for Charlotte, who reportedly were down to Atkinson and longtime head coaches Mike D’Antoni and Terry Stotts for its head coaching vacancy. Both could reemerge as candidates, with general manager Mitch Kupchak looking to replace James Borrego, who was fired after four seasons in charge.
The Hornets have missed the playoffs for a franchise-long six consecutive seasons and went 43-39 this past season. They reached the play-in game but were bounced by the Hawks, 132-103.