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Kenny Atkinson won't coach the Hornets, so what now? | Locked On Hornets podcast

After reportedly agreeing to a 4-year deal with the Hornets earlier this month, Kenny Atkinson will instead stay with the Warriors. How bad is this for Charlotte?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It was the shocking news of the weekend that Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, who agreed to become the Hornets head coach over a week ago, will actually stay with Golden State as an assistant.

That news was first reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Saturday, allegedly before Hornets GM Mike Kupchak was even made aware of Atkinson's decision. 

Charlotte and the Golden State assistant had agreed to a four-year contract. But the contract was never signed, according to reports. The Hornets never made an official announcement about hiring Atkinson.

Now, the Hornets and the Jazz are the only two NBA teams currently without a head coach.

In the search to replace fired head coach James Borrego, the Hornets had reportedly narrowed it down to Atkinson, Mike D’Antoni and Terry Stotts, all known to be on Charlotte's radar. The Hornets also had interested in Darvin Ham, who was hired by the Lakers.

So, what now? And how embarrassing of a situation is this for Charlotte? Walker Mehl and Doug Branson discussed on the Locked On Hornets podcast on Monday.

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With D'Antoni and Stotts both having significant coaching experience, and knowing they weren't selected over Atkinson, could it be difficult to hire one of the other finalists?

“How it gets embarrassing is if you go back to Mike D’Antoni and he says no I don’t want to be the coach, if you go back to Terry Stotts and he decides he wants a year off…that’s how it gets embarrassing,” Locked On Hornets co-host Walker Mehl said on the podcast.

Co-host Doug Branson said he believes now that Atkinson was chosen over D'Antoni and Stotts, it will be hard to go back to those veteran coaches to look to try to make a deal.

 “I think it’s all about pride at this point. How much can these two parties put away their pride?" Branson said. "You can look at Terry Stotts and Mike D’Antoni and see if they’d be willing to meet again. I think it might affect some of the bargaining pieces as well."

Branson said he thinks the Hornets would be lucky to get D'Antoni, saying he's the best fit for this Charlotte team.

“I hope they do explore D’Antoni, I always felt like he was the person that was most likely to unlock whatever extra piece there is to unlock for LaMelo Ball…I thought D’Antoni’s offensive genius could come in and allow LaMelo to be special on another level," Branson said. "I hope that’s still an option.”

Watch or listen the full conversation between Mehl and Branson as they break down all this all happened and offer more thoughts on what's next for the Hornets.

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