Charlotte Hornets Officially Clean House By Firing Steve Clifford Today

This was not a surprising move as the Charlotte Hornets announced this morning that Steve Clifford was fired. What this does though is essentially completes the house cleaning of sorts by the Hornets. Jordan recently hired Mitch Kupchak as President and General Manager with the idea that he could shape the team as he’d like it to be. As it is often the case, a new GM/President will want to bring in a coach that is their guy as opposed to someone from the previous staff.

Clifford, similar to Frank Vogel who was let go by the Magic, is respected around the league. He went 196-214 during his five years in Charlotte, but actually outscored his opponents the last two years despite winning just 36 games in each of the last two seasons. Clifford is known as a defensive-minded coach who also helped turn Kemba Walker into a star during the last five years. Speaking of Walker, this begs the next question. Will Walker be the next person to leave Charlotte? Walker is owed $12 million next year and then becomes an unrestricted free agent. Could we possibly see him moved to add youth in the draft or some younger promising pieces? A potential landing spot could actually be Cleveland if LeBron stays. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cavs trade that Nets pick if that’s the case and Walker could be a piece to go there if they match up money, etc.

Clifford is expected to be linked to some of the open jobs this offseason as we’re already up to six now with Charlotte joining New York, Memphis, Phoenix, Orlando and Milwaukee looking for head coaches. He did miss a few weeks of the season this year though as he battled some health problems – most notably headaches and insomnia. As for possible names that can replace Clifford two stick out right away. Assistant coach Stephen Silas, the son of Paul Silas, who was the interim head coach when Clifford was on his medical leave is a name that will be discussed. The other name? Jerry Stackhouse. There’s the obvious UNC connection to the front office, he’s linked to just about every opening so far and has been successful as a G-League coach for the Raptors 905.