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Report: Hornets fire head coach Steve Clifford after 5 seasons

Steve Clifford

The Charlotte Hornets have fired head coach Steve Clifford after concluding his fifth season with the team, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Clifford is the third coach fired after Jeff Hornacek ( New York Knicks) and Frank Vogel ( Orlando Magic) were both dismissed from their respective teams after the regular season concluded.

The Hornets, now boasting a new front office comprised of North Carolina alums — with majority owner Michael Jordan, recently-hired Mitch Kupchak, and assistant general manager Buzz Peterson — now look to start their coaching search and get a guy of their own for this roster, with their priority now shifting to re-hauling this roster and trying to keep All-Star point guard Kemba Walker.

“He’s been great from day one,” said Walker. “He’s been a great coach for me, very motivational. He got me to another level. I just love him as a coach, as a person. He’s been special or me in my career.”

The 56-year-old coach led the Hornets to a 36-46 record this season, finishing 10th in the East and missing the playoffs for a second straight season, the third time in five years.

Clifford had a 196-214 record through his five-year stint at the helm, but it did not prove enough to take this team to where ownership had envisioned.

He is expected to be one of the top candidates for a coaching job, with roughly 10 NBA head coaching jobs expected to open up throughout the offseason.