The Charlotte Hornets have begun interviewing candidates for the franchise’s head-coaching vacancy, including the possibility of a meeting of general manager Mitch Kupchak with former Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, sources told ESPN.
D’Antoni has been ‘identified’ as a serious candidate early in the process, especially because of the possibility of pairing him with the young point guard LaMelo Ball, the sources added. D’Antoni will meet with the Hornets along with several current assistant coaches with whom Charlotte has requested permission to speak, including Golden State’s Kenny Atkinson, Milwaukee’s Darvin Ham and Dallas’ Sean Sweeney.
All three of those assistants are currently in the playoffs.
Atkinson, 54, inherited a downtrodden Nets team and led it to the Eastern Conference playoffs in his third season in 2018-2019. He built a solid reputation in player development as an assistant and head coach.
Ham has been part of the staff of Mike Budenholzer with Milwaukee and Atlanta and has been seriously considered for several head coaching positions in recent years, including his current involvement with the Lakers’ starter.
Sweeney is considered the architect of the Mavericks’ amazing defense this season, and worked with head coach Jason Kidd with both the Nets and Bucks. This is his first interview for a head coaching job.
D’Antoni is a two-time NBA Coach of the Year and owns a record of 672-527 (.560) in nearly 1,200 games over two decades with Denver, Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles and Houston. He spent the last season as a coaching consultant for Willie Green and the New Orleans Pelicans.
Charlotte fired coach James Borrego, who led the Hornets to consecutive play-in tournament appearances and made improvements of 10-plus wins in consecutive seasons.
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Mike D’Antoni, in the sights of the Hornets