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NBA roundup: Bobcats hire Clifford as new coach

The SportsXchange

The Charlotte Bobcats confirmed Wednesday that the team has filled its head coaching position, announcing the hiring of Steve Clifford.

A longtime NBA assistant, Clifford was with the Los Angeles Lakers this season after spending the previous five years with the Orlando Magic. Earlier this week, multiple reports indicated that Clifford agreed to a three-year contract,

"We are excited to have Steve Clifford as our new head coach," said Rod Higgins, president of basketball operations. "He brings a strong pedigree and a track record of success to our franchise."

Clifford, who becomes the sixth coach in franchise history, has coached under the Van Gundys, first with Jeff from 2003 to 2007 with the Houston Rockets and then with Stan in Orlando. He also worked as an advance scout and assistant for the New York Knicks and as head coach at NCAA Division II Adelphi University.

"He's a brilliant basketball coach who relates to all kinds of people well and I think he will do an absolutely fantastic job with the talent at hand," said Jeff Van Gundy, now a broadcaster for ESPN. "I'm so happy for one of the good guys in the league to get this opportunity."

The Charlotte job will be Clifford's first in the NBA as a head coach. He replaces Mike Dunlap, who was fired in April after the Bobcats posted a 21-61 record in his only season as coach.

---Lionel Hollins wants to return to the Memphis Grizzlies as coach next season, but his contract runs out at the end of June and other teams have any eye on landing him for their vacancies.

Among the teams mentioned as possible landing spots for Hollins are the Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets.

Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien sounded noncommittal when asked about Hollins, saying contract negotiations were not a matter for public discussion.

---Golden State Warriors forward Richard Jefferson will exercise his contract option for next season.

Jefferson is entering the final year of his contract at $11 million and will become a unrestricted free agent after the 2013-14 season.

The 32-year-old Jefferson saw limited minutes in the postseason and averaged 3.1 points and 1.5 rebounds in 56 games during the regular season.

Teammate Andris Biedrins also recently announced that he would exercise a $9 million option on his contract for next season.
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