Over the weekend, Mike D’Antoni seemingly emerged as a favorite to land the Charlotte Hornets‘ head-coaching job previously held by James Borrego. The offensive innovator would be a strong fit with All-Star point guard LaMelo Ball, but as the process has continued, more and more candidates are surfacing as threats to D’Antoni’s status.
Last week, Bleacher Report reported that Charlotte would interview fired Lakers coach Frank Vogel. On Tuesday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania added that former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts would also receive an interview. Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham will receive a second, in-person interview as well. Ham’s season ended on Sunday when the Bucks were eliminated from the playoffs by the Boston Celtics. Adrian Wojnarowski adds that Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson will get a second interview for the job as well.
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Charlotte’s problems last season stemmed from defensive issues that have plagued the Hornets for years. Without a traditional center, Borrego needed to rely on smaller lineups to survive. D’Antoni and Stotts are former head coaches with extensive track records on offense, but neither has consistently managed to build strong defenses. That has been Vogel’s speciality, and while Ham is unproven as a head coach, his Bucks have been among the NBA‘s best defensive teams for years.
With so many candidates interviewing, it’s hard to say which direction the Hornets are leaning right now. Even if D’Antoni has emerged as a slight favorite, the job appears to be up for grabs. Coaching Ball as he comes into his prime would appeal to practically any coach, so the Hornets can bet that they’ll have a number of viable options to choose from.