The Charlotte Hornets and coach Steve Clifford have come to an agreement on a multi-year extension, the Observer has learned.
The deal includes a three-year guarantee that would keep Clifford in his current role through the 2018-19 season. The Hornets have an option on the 2019-20 season, a source said.
Clifford is in his third season as Hornets coach. He was hired in the summer of 2013 after being a longtime NBA assistant.
He started his NBA career as a scout for the New York Knicks, working for Jeff Van Gundy. He was later a Knicks assistant coach, then worked with the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers.
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The Hornets are 8-6 this season. Clifford is 84-94 overall with the Hornets, having reached the playoffs in Clifford’s first season.
Clifford’s initial contract would have expired after this season. There was wide-spread speculation he would have been a candidate for possible openings with the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers.
Clifford finished fourth in balloting for NBA Coach of the Year in his first season as a head coach. The Hornets regressed in his second season, finishing 33-49 after numerous injuries to key players.
The Hornets dramatically remade their roster in the off-season, bringing in seven new players primarily intended to improve the team offensively. The Hornets are averaging 104.6 points per game and averaging 45.3 percent from the field and 36.3 percent from 3-point range.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell