Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson verbally agreed to a multi-year deal to become the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets last week, but he had a change of heart. Steve Kerr provided some more context behind his assistant’s decision.
There have been reports that Atkinson backed out of the Hornets job for family reasons. Kerr spoke about the situation during the Warriors’ championship parade on Monday, and he mentioned how Atkinson’s kids wanted to stay in San Francisco.
“We’re in a great place. We’ve got great players. We live in a beautiful part of the country. Kenny’s got two kids, teenagers, who really wanted to stay,” Kerr said. “It’s a really difficult thing to try to take a job in the middle of the Finals without really getting a chance to unwind. I think over the course of the Finals he just felt like this is not the best time for my family and me to leave.”
Many have said the family angle makes no sense, as that is something Atkinson surely would have taken into account before he told the Hornets he was in. Kerr implied that Atkinson did not have an opportunity to give the decision enough thought because Golden State was trying to win a championship.
It is certainly unusual for a coach to agree to become a head coach and then change his mind to remain an assistant. If you’re going to do that, Golden State might as well be the place.