The Los Angeles Lakers have now lost another assistant coach. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Charlotte Bobcats have agreed to make Steve Clifford their new head coach:
The Charlotte Bobcats have reached an agreement in principle to hire Los Angeles Lakers assistant Steve Clifford as head coach, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Clifford will sign a two-year deal with a team option for a third that could be worth approximately $6 million, league sources said.
The Lakers assistant was a finalist for the Milwaukee Bucks head coaching job too, and Charlotte made a pre-emptive move to offer Clifford the job before he traveled to Milwaukee on Tuesday for a second interview.
He is expected to try to hire Patrick Ewing as one of his top assistant coaches, reuniting Ewing with his close friend, Bobcats owner Michael Jordan.
According to Ramona Shelburne, Darvin Ham – who is also currently an assistant coach for the Lakers – could join Clifford in Charlotte. If that happens, the only other assistant left in L.A. will be Mike D’Antoni‘s brother, Dan, meaning Mike would need to build an almost entirely new staff.
Of course, picking your own assistants is often a job a head coach will oversee after becoming a team’s top man, but some of the Lakers’ assistants had connections with the top players in Los Angeles. As Shelburne points out, Clifford and Chuck Person were the two coaches who Dwight Howard was closest to.
Could the departure of Clifford and Person affect his final decision this summer when he signs a new contract? Quite possibly.