According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Charlotte Bobcats have reached an agreement in principle to hire Los Angeles Lakers assistant Steve Clifford as head coach. According to the report, it is a three-year deal with a fourth year for an option.
The word on Clifford from those that know the league is that he’s a highly coveted and top-notch assistant and that he will do well as a head coach. He’s considered by many as the top assistant in the NBA, much like Tom Thibodeau was with the Boston Celtics before leading the Chicago Bulls.
Time will tell. But it’s not like things can get any worse than what they have been.
The Bobcats have been the laughing stock of the NBA for the last three seasons, during which time, they’ve had three coaches. This will be the fourth coach in four years (Brown, Silas, Dunlap and now Clifford).
Many believe that Charlotte is a dead-end job because of the way the font office have ran things into the ground more or less since the team’s creation. Those same naysayers also don’t think free agents will want to play here. But there are some attractive aspects about this job.
While the Bobcats only have one draft pick this year, they could have as many as three lottery picks next season, in what is considered to be the best draft in decades. Also, there’s a ton of cap space this offseason, which means they can trade for a top level player and/or make an offer to a top free agent.
Now, of course, owner Michael Jordan has to do a complete reverse from what he’s done as an owner/president/general manager and actually make quality decisions, which begins by making the decision to stay out of things.
But will Jordan do that is the $64,000 question.
Also, don’t be surprised if Clifford hires Patrick Ewing as an assistant. Apparently Clifford is close to the Georgetown graduate and former NBA star. And Ewing is a close friend of Jordan, too. Go figure.
Maybe Clifford will be the guy Charlotte has been searching for to lead this young team. Maybe the name change will reinvigorate the fan base and get them to show up to games. Maybe the next four first-round draft picks won’t be busts or underachievers. Maybe this is the beginning of a great turnaround.
For Jordan’s, Clifford’s and Charlotte’s sake, let’s hope so.