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Why Kenny Atkinson turned down Hornets head coach job to stay with Warriors

Just when it looked like the Warriors would be losing not one but two assistant coaches this offseason, Kenny Atkinson decided not to take the head coaching gig for the Charlotte Hornets and will instead remain in the Bay.

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So what factored into the decision?

It had to do with family and, reportedly, the salaries for assistants Atkinson planned on bringing with him to Charlotte played a part as well. Plus, the opportunity to chase another title with Golden State certainly couldn’t have hurt.

It was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Saturday that Atkinson backed away from his agreed-in-principle four-year deal to coach the Hornets. As he prepared to join the team for the NBA draft this week, he and the team were unable to come to financial agreements for his new assistants, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported on Tuesday, citing sources.

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The Hornets reportedly are intent on keeping a large portion of former head coach James Borrego’s staff, Fischer added, as many have one full season of guaranteed money remaining on their contracts.

In addition to becoming Warriors coach Steve Kerr’s right-hand man with Mike Brown departing for the Kings, Atkinson won’t have to move his family to an entirely new zip code for the third season in a row.

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During the Warriors championship parade on Monday, Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Kerith Burke that family and the Golden State culture played a huge role in why Atkinson felt compelled to stay in the Bay.

“We’re in a great place. We’ve got great players. We live in a beautiful part of the country,” Kerr told Burke. “Kenny’s got two kids, you know, teenagers who really wanted to stay, and I think that’s a really difficult thing to try to take a job in the middle of the Finals without really getting a chance to unwind.

“And I think over the course of the Finals, he just felt like, ‘You know what, this is not the best time for my family and me to leave.’ So I’m glad that Kenny trusted his gut, and hopefully Charlotte ends up with a great coach and everybody moves forward.

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“But we’re lucky to have him back, especially losing Mike Brown next year. I need Kenny and I’m thrilled he’s back.”

Losing Brown will sting after the success the Warriors’ coaching group fostered this season, but Atkinson’s return for 2022-23 is sure to be a welcome sight for Dub Nation.

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