Report: Steve Clifford expected to find coaching job soon
Yet another NBA coach has been relieved of his duties. In an official statement released on Friday morning, the Charlotte Hornets announced that they have decided to part ways with Steve Clifford after five seasons. According to most reports, the move was expected.
NEWS: The @hornets have relieved Head Coach Steve Clifford of his head coaching duties.
— Charlotte Hornets PR (@HornetsPR) April 13, 2018
Clifford, his coaching staff were expecting this move today, sources told @YahooSportsNBA. Clifford will be a candidate for other openings. Someone he could be competing against: Lead assistant Stephen Silas.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixYS) April 13, 2018
The Hornets played their way to a 36-46 overall record this season, which left them as the 10th-ranked team in the Eastern Conference and out of the playoff hunt. A few seasons ago, the Hornets managed to rattle off 48 wins. Most hoops experts viewed Charlotte as a team on the come up. Now, however, the Hornets have missed the playoffs for two consecutive seasons, which most believe led to Clifford’s firing.
The blame for Charlotte’s recent woes should not be placed solely on Clifford’s shoulders alone. Injuries were an issue for the Hornets, and Clifford missed an extended period this season due to health concerns.
All is not lost for Clifford, who led the Hornets to a 194-214 record during his five-year stint. According to a report from ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the 56-year-old is drawing interest from several teams around the NBA. Who those interested teams are remains to be seen at this point, but there are several organizations that could use a veteran head coach like Clifford. Recently, the New York Knicks and Orlando Magic fired their coaches. The Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzlies and Milwaukee Bucks are expected to be in the market as well (to name a few).
Expect Steve Clifford to be a finalist for head-coaching jobs this summer. Would be shocked if he's not in one by the start of 2019-2020 season at latest.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) April 13, 2018
Steve Clifford is a good Coach. He’ll get another job quick if he wants. My guess, he goes back to Orlando.
— Jonathan Zaslow (@ZaslowShow) April 13, 2018
For the record: Charlotte’s player payroll this season was 12th-highest among 30 NBA franchises at over $117 million.