Bobcats Hire Steve Clifford as Head Coach
NBA Playoffs 2013
The Charlotte Bobcats have lured Steve Clifford from the Los Angeles Lakers to be their sixth head coach.
Several media outlets reported that the Bobcats have signed Clifford to a three-year deal worth $6 million, with a team option for the third year.
Clifford, who worked as lead assistant coach to Mike D'Antoni, will replace Mike Dunlap, who was fired in April. He was one of six candidates interviewed by the Bobcats.
Like Dunlap, Clifford has never been an NBA head coach before the Bobcats hired him but he 10 years as assistant coach to brothers Jeff and Stan Van Gundy, Mike Brown and D'Antoni.
He worked for Jeff Van Gundy in Houston from 2003 through 2007 then joined Stan Van Gundy's staff with the Orlando Magic from 2007 through the end of last season.
When the Magic fired Stan Van Gundy, then-Lakers coach Mike Brown hired Clifford to be that team's defensive coordinator. When D'Antoni replaced Brown, he kept Clifford as lead assistant.
The teams Clifford worked with in Houston, Orlando and Los Angeles reached the playoffs in nine of 10 seasons, including the Magic's Eastern Conference title in 2009.
Clifford became the Bobcats' fifth head coach since 2007 with none of those five lasted a full three seasons. Dunlap and Sam Vincent had no previous NBA head-coaching experience and both were fired after a single season.
At 28-120, the Bobcats had the worst record in the NBA over the past two seasons, at 28-120.
The Bobcats allowed 102.7 points last season, giving up 47 percent shooting. They scored 93.2 points per game off 42 percent shooting.
Clifford could build a team around the team's No. 4 overall pick in June's draft and from the team's three first-round picks in 2014.
The Bobcats could make available $21 million under the salary cap to sign free agents or facilitate trades.
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