The Charlotte Hornets announced on Wednesday that head coach Steve Clifford would be away from the team for the “immediate future.”
Steve Clifford has coached the Charlotte Hornets to a 9-13 record to start the season, but a press release from the team stated that the 56-year-old would not be with the organization for an indefinite amount of time. In his place, associate head coach Stephen Silas will serve as the interim. Silas, who served as a scout and an assistant for Charlotte from 1999-2002, re-joined the franchise in 2010.
The Hornets didn’t give any further specifics out of respect for Clifford. Hopefully, whatever he’s going through isn’t too severe, and he’ll be able to make a swift recovery.
This season is the fifth that Clifford’s spent with Charlotte. Over those years, he’s amassed a 169-181 record while making two playoff appearances in 2014 and 2016. He’s also brought home two Eastern Conference Coach of the Month awards. Before the Hornets gave Clifford the head coaching job, he spent 13 seasons as an assistant with the New York Knicks (2001-2003), Houston Rockets (2004-2007), Orlando Magic (2008-2012) and Los Angeles Lakers (2013).
Charlotte has struggled mightily to begin this campaign, and their poor play has carried over from the end of last season. They’ve experienced a six- and a four-game losing streak since the start of November. Both their offense and defense has been average thus far, and the Hornets rank 16th in points per game allowed (106.4) and 15th in scoring (105.4).
With Kemba Walker and Nic Batum leading the charge, the Hornets have enough talent to sneak their way into the postseason as a low-to-middle seed. Dwight Howard and Jeremy Lamb have stepped up, as has Frank Kaminsky. They, however, still need to find a way to get everyone to gel.
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