Member of Nuggets staff among candidates for Hornets head coaching job opening

San Antonio Spurs v Denver Nuggets
San Antonio Spurs v Denver Nuggets / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

On Wednesday morning it was announced that Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford will be stepping down at the end of the season and transitioning to a front-office role with the franchise.

A new era in Charlotte

The writing has been on the wall for a while as a new ownership group purchased the Hornets in the offseason and has begun the process of revamping the organization. Personnel changes started before the trade deadline as the team dealt away multiple veteran mainstays in Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, and PJ Washington.

The moves continued beyond just players as longtime President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced he was stepping down shortly after the deadline. It was clear that the Hornets’ owners wanted to completely rebuild from the ground up, and the only remaining holdover was Coach Clifford.

Cliff has been in the NBA for years and is very well respected, so it was hard to imagine the team would fire him. And in a lost season there was little reason to make a change during the year. 

But as the Hornets aim to start from scratch it made little sense to stick with the longtime veteran, Clifford. The team needs a young, hungry coach who is ready to build and grow with the players.

So the move makes perfect sense, and hopefully, the Hornets can figure out a way to keep Clifford on staff. 

Who will be the next coach of the Hornets?

We’re still very early in the process, but Thursday morning sources revealed four potential candidates who will be interviewing for the Charlotte job. That list includes assistant coaches Jordi Fernandez from the Kings, Charles Lee with the Celtics, Kevin Young of the Suns, and the Nuggets’ own David Adelman.

Adelman is in his seventh year with the Nuggets and has been serving as the lead assistant to head coach Michael Malone. This news is bittersweet as David is certainly deserving of this opportunity, but it would be a significant blow to the Nuggets bench.

Adelman is the son of the late former NBA coach and player Rick Adelman. Growing up around the game, he has a world of experience. At age 42, he’d be one of the younger head coaches in the league, but that could be a perfect fit for this upstart Hornets team.