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Will MJ Splurge For D’Antoni After Atkinson Bust?

  • Charlotte lost their new head coach two weeks after Kenny Atkinson accepted the job.
  • They reportedly low-balled him and his coaching staff.
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
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Less than two weeks ago, it looked like Michael Jordan was finally turning a corner as an NBA owner. But somehow, his Charlotte Hornets managed to lose their new head coach less than two weeks after he accepted the job.

Jake Fischer reported that Kenny Atkinson and Charlotte were “unable to come to financial agreements for his new assistants,” noting that the franchise is “among the league’s bottom five in coaching salaries.”

Now, Jordan will meet with Mike D’Antoni — but if His Airness wasn’t willing to invest in Atkinson, why would he pony up for a big-name coach who makes roughly $4 million a year?

  • D’Antoni (672-527) is a two-time NBA Coach of the Year.
  • The 16-year veteran masterminded the high-octane “seven seconds or less” offense. 
  • During his four-season tenure in Houston, the Rockets had the league’s second-best win percentage (68.2).

D’Antoni might be a good fit to turn a young, exciting team built around LaMelo Ball into a playoff contender — but that would require more money from a franchise that hasn’t been a top-10 spender since 2016-17.

The Hornets have $109 million on the books for 2022-23 — 10th-lowest in the NBA. They’ll have even more space by offloading Gordon Hayward’s $61.6 million — money they could use to lock in young star Miles Bridges.

Saddled with another front-office setback and several big roster decisions, Jordan might want to tap into his legendary competitive streak right about now.

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