CHARLOTTE (N.C.) — General manager Mitch Kupchak stated that Kenny Atkinson's decision to renege last week on his four-year coaching contract was a reversal of the agreement.It was “disappointing”, but in some ways, he's grateful it happened that way.
Kupchak stated Thursday night that he thought he would be a good pick. However, if he isn't comfortable here, I would prefer to find out now rather than waiting a year,” he said during the NBA draft.
Kupchak did not give a timetable for when the Hornets would have a new coach, emphasizing that the team is not in hurry.
Kupchak reported that Michael Jordan, the team owner, was in Charlotte on Tuesday and had spoken extensively to Kupchak about the coaching situation.
Although Atkinson declined to speak with the GM, he indicated that they may be open to interviewing new candidates.
Kupchak reflected on his face-to–face conversation with Jordan: “We spent a lot more time going over candidates. Maybe we have new candidates. Making sure we cover all our bases.” “We never felt the need for us to rush this whole process. We wanted to choose the right coach, and we felt we did.
Kupchak said that the roster in the NBA is what really wins games, not the head coach.
Kupchak said, “A good coach will help with the roster. But the most important is to get it together.” “We will have a great coach, and we'll be in good shape.”
The Hornets entered NBA Draft without having a head coach, with Kupchak in charge of the games. The team traded the 13th overall selection to thefor a future pick in the first round and four second-rounders, and then took Mark Williams, Duke center, at No. 15. Charlotte added Nebraska guard Bryce McGowens to the team in round 2.
Kupchak had hoped for a coach to be in place before the NBA draft.
Kupchak declared, “We are moving on it.” “I can't tell you when. I don’t want to speak for more than a week, two weeks or two months. That's not what I want to say.”
Kupchak did not speak much about the search for a coach, but joked about how difficult the Hornets find themselves in.
According to the general manager, Atkinson's decision was reminiscent of Steve Kerr's rejection of the New York Knicks coaching position. He went on to say that he moved to Golden State and won four NBA championships.
“It looks just like [Kerr] Kupchak laughed, saying that it was a smart decision to accept the job offer at Golden State. “So Kenny may have spoken to Steve and Steve suggested that maybe things would work out for him. “I don't know.”
Kupchak pointed out that Bill Belichick, NFL coach, abruptly resigned prior to his 2000 inaugural news conference with New York Jets. Belichick went onto coach the New England Patriots, winning six Super bowls.
“That was also a great decision. Kupchak joked that Kenny may be on to something.
Atkinson did not respond to The Associated Press's requests for interview about his decision to renege on the agreement. Kerr stated that Atkinson declined the job because he did not want to move his family.
After four seasons of leading the team, James Borrego had gone 138-163 and Charlotte fired him on April 22.
Charlotte has not advanced to the second round since the 2015-16 season. The Hornets finished last season at 43-39 and were bounced by the Play-In Tournament..