Kenny Atkinson Rejects Hornets to Stay on Warriors’ Bench: Report

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Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson, fresh from an NBA championship, reportedly turned down an offer to become the next head coach of the Charlotte Hornets.

Atkinson turned the course more than a week after accepting a four-year contract with the Hornets, the Associated Press reported. The Hornets never announced Atkinson as the new head coach and will remain one of two teams in the NBA without a head coach as the offseason approaches.

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FILE - Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson watches the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards on February 1, 2020 in Washington.

FILE – Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson watches the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards on February 1, 2020 in Washington.
(AP Photo / Nick Wass, File)

It is unclear what triggered the turnaround. The Warriors game seemed to be excited when they heard the news on Saturday that the assistant coach was on the staff. Co-assistant Mike Brown took the job at the Sacramento Kings in May.

“We knew the amazing work Kenny did when he was in Brooklyn. It’s not talked about enough,” Warriors guard Jordan Poole said. “For him to be able to bring all the knowledge and insight and the positive emotions and militaristic drive that he has, already adding it to a winning culture is amazing. And we got a ring because of it. … “Of course he’s extremely invested and believes we can do it again. You want some guys like that and some people like that.”

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Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson, left, talks to assistant coach Mike Brown during a timeout during the first quarter of Game 4 of the basketball NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics on Friday, June 10, 2022 in Boston.

Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson, left, talks to assistant coach Mike Brown during a timeout during the first quarter of Game 4 of the basketball NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics on Friday, June 10, 2022 in Boston.
(AP Photo / Steven Senne)

Andrew Wiggins added: “It means a lot. He gave up a head coaching job to come back.”

Atkinson has been considered one of the best assistant coaches in the NBA. He was on the bench for the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks from 2008 to 2016 before getting a job with the Brooklyn Nets.

Atkinson was 118-190 with the Nets and made a playoff appearance.

He was with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2020-21 before joining the Warriors before this season.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, in the middle, celebrates with teammates as he holds the Bill Russell Trophy for Most Valuable Player after the Warriors beat the Boston Celtics in Game 6 to win the basketball NBA Finals, Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Boston.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, in the middle, celebrates with teammates as he holds the Bill Russell Trophy for Most Valuable Player after the Warriors beat the Boston Celtics in Game 6 to win the basketball NBA Finals, Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Boston.
(AP Photo / Steven Senne)

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The Hornets fired James Borrego after the 2021-22 season. Borrego was with Charlotte, but did not make it to the playoffs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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