Hornets coach to step down, team confirms

CHARLOTTE — The coach of the Charlotte Hornets is leaving his role, the team announced Wednesday morning.

The news was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Steve Clifford is stepping down at the end of the season and is expected to take a front office role with the organization, the team said in a news release.

Clifford will coach the Hornets’ final seven games of the season.

“This is the appropriate time for me to step down,” Clifford said in a statement. “I believe this is best for me and the organization. I’m excited about the future of the Hornets – our young core of players, Jeff’s leadership of our basketball operations and Rick and Gabe’s vision for the organization. I want to thank all the Hornets players and staff for their work the past two seasons and our Hornets fans for their continued support of our team.”

Sources told Wojnarowski that Clifford wasn’t ready to commit to the grind of coaching another season, even though the new Hornets leadership was open to bringing him back next season.

Clifford previously served as head coach from 2013 to 2018, getting the team two playoff appearances. His 241 wins as coach are the most in franchise history.

His most recent stint with the team began on June 24, 2022.

The Hornets recently hired Brooklyn Nets executive Jeff Peterson as the next executive vice president of basketball operations. Former General Manager Mitch Kupchak is moving into a new role as an advisor for the organization.

Over the summer, six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan sold the team to financiers Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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