Charlotte Hornets’ owner indicates that head coaching hire is imminent

Charlotte Hornets owner Rick Schnall said he expects the city’s NBA franchise to announce the hiring of a head coach within the next seven days.

“We’re close,” Schnall told The Charlotte Observer on Wednesday afternoon. “We’re close. You’ll see us announce it certainly in the next week.”

Schnall, who owns a majority stake of the team with business partner Gabe Plotkin, said this in the middle of his round during the pro-am prior to the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte. When asked if he could give an indication on who that next coach could be, he chuckled.

“We’re going to hire the best person that we can for our team,” he said.

The hiring of the Hornets’ next head coach will be among the more consequential moves for the new owners, who finalized their purchase of the team from Michael Jordan in August. After replacing Mitch Kupchak with Jeff Peterson as the team’s vice president of basketball operations, a new hiring opportunity presented itself right before the end of the regular season, when Steve Clifford announced he wouldn’t return as head coach in 2024-25 and would instead stay with the organization in a different role.

There’s been plenty of debate over who Clifford’s successor should be. The Charlotte Observer has reported repeatedly that Boston Celtics assistant Charles Lee — who is still in the throes of a deep playoff run — is the most likely outcome. Lee and Peterson go way back, when they both were in their first roles in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks from 2014-18, and Lee himself is among the most respected assistants in the league.

The splashiest hire might be JJ Redick, the Duke superstar and 15-year NBA veteran who has become a fan favorite in the NBA media landscape the past few years. He recently launched a podcast with Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James called “Mind The Game.”

Other candidates who have been mentioned in the coaching search include Chris Quinn, an assistant for the Miami Heat; Sean Sweeney, the right-hand man for Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd; and Lindsey Harding, who won G League Coach of the Year in 2024.

Schnall also said Wednesday the Hornets are “getting close” on hiring a new franchise president as well. James Jordan is the team’s chief operating officer and interim president; he stepped in for Fred Whitfield, who resigned from the post in December.