After accepting Charlotte’s job offer during the NBA Finals last week, further conversations with the Hornets’ organization led Atkinson to believe that both professionally and personally it would be best to remain with the Warriors, sources said.
Atkinson and the Hornets had agreed in principle to a four-year deal, but a contract was never signed, sources said.
Atkinson had already moved three times in three years — leaving his job as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets to become an assistant in consecutive years with the LA Clippers and then Golden State. Atkinson will be returning to the newly crowned NBA champions for a second season under Steve Kerr.
Atkinson informed Charlotte and Golden State of his decision on Saturday, sources said. He will become the top assistant with Golden State, who will be without Mike Brown after he accepted the head-coaching job with the Sacramento Kings.
Atkinson was among three finalists to become the Hornets coach but was the only candidate to meet with owner Michael Jordan — which he did June 8 in Boston. Longtime NBA head coaches Mike D’Antoni and Terry Stotts were also in the final grouping of the process, and they could emerge again as Charlotte general manager Mitch Kupchak restarts the search to replace James Borrego.
Atkinson was 118-190 in three-plus years with the Nets, inheriting a full rebuild and showing improvement each season until he resigned after an injury-plagued 2019-20 season. He spent the 2020-21 season with the Clippers as an assistant before joining Steve Kerr’s Golden State staff.
The Hornets have missed the playoffs for six consecutive seasons, the longest drought in franchise history and second-longest active streak behind the Kings (16). But Charlotte has several building blocks on a team that went 43-39 during the regular season to reach the play-in game, including All-Star LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges, who is set to be a restricted free agent.