« Charlotte Bobcats name-change announcement to Hornets coming Tuesday | Main | New Bobcats coach Clifford: I'm inexperienced, but I have a vision »

May 27, 2013

Source: Bobcats to hire Lakers assistant Steve Clifford

Steve Clifford, a veteran assistant coach most recently with the Los Angeles Lakers, has been hired by the Charlotte Bobcats, a source close to Clifford confirmed Monday.

The team provided no confirmation as of early Monday evening.

            Clifford has worked most of the last 10 seasons for NBA coaches Jeff and Stan Van Gundy, with a defensive specialty. He worked for Jeff Van Gundy with the Houston Rockets and then Stan Van Gundy with the Orlando Magic. When Stan Van Gundy left the Magic, Clifford was hired by then-Lakers coach Mike Brown to be his top assistant.

            When Brown was fired and replaced by Mike D’Antoni, Clifford became D’Antoni’s lead assistant.

            Clifford will replace Mike Dunlap, who was fired by the Bobcats following a single 21-61 season. Clifford becomes the third Bobcats coach in as many seasons. Dunlap was hired last June after the Bobcats decided not to re-sign coach Paul Silas, who now serves as a team consultant.

            The Bobcats expressed interest in at least six known candidates for the job. One of their targets, Jeff Hornacek, was named Phoenix Suns head coach last week. Former Suns coach (and Shelby native) Alvin Gentry was told Monday he was out of the mix for the job.

Posted by Observer Sports on May 27, 2013 at 06:49 PM | Permalink


that could have been a LOT worse. and thankfully didn't drag on too long into the draft process.

Can we go all in on noel now?

Posted by: charlottean | May 27, 2013 6:51:44 PM

Hope he lasts and helps bring back the buzz.

Posted by: PantherHead | May 27, 2013 7:00:13 PM

Good job by Charlotte to hire someone who has local ties (ECU), playoff experience, and is defensively minded... If they can also bring in Patrick Ewing that would be a steal!

Posted by: Timbo | May 27, 2013 7:00:19 PM

i can cosign the ewing idea.

Posted by: charlottean | May 27, 2013 7:13:45 PM

Good hire by the Bobcats getting a coach with alot of NBA experience he will be a huge upgrade over Mike DumbLap. I see us getting 32 wins next season.

Posted by: Demetrious | May 27, 2013 7:26:13 PM

dont know much about him but if he worked for both Jeff, Stan and Brown he knows his stuff

Posted by: jaymoney | May 27, 2013 7:27:02 PM

So next year when we are looking for another coach, can we please go after a veteran head coach with proven experience?

Posted by: herewegoagain | May 27, 2013 7:27:23 PM

jay, George Karl said Dunlap was great.

Demetrious, bet you thought Dunlap was a great hire last year didn't you?

At least Clifford was in the running for some other jobs....last year Dunlap wasn't in the running for anything. We never did get the details of his contract...

His Minimumness probably having to pay Clifford over doubel what he paid Dunlap -- bet that's killling ol' Air Minimum!

Posted by: NASTAR14 | May 27, 2013 7:31:13 PM

jay, one other thing, bot Stan and Jeff are available themselves -- why not GO BIG>?!?!?!?!

Posted by: NASTAR14 | May 27, 2013 7:32:48 PM

Rich Cho: Ok I like that Clifford guy from LA.

MJ: I love Clifford the Big Red Dog, we can pay him in Alpo.

Rich Cho: No Mike, he's not the Big Red Dog...

MJ: Good. We can pay him less Alpo, since we are still paying Dunleavy.

Rich Cho: Dunlap.

MJ: Whatever. Going golfing...

Posted by: Ed Gruberman | May 27, 2013 7:34:14 PM

4 coaches in 5 years is it? Not sure why they expect this to be any different.

Posted by: Johnny | May 27, 2013 7:39:42 PM

What will they do when Gordon snaps on this guy? If he Is a defensive minded coach, it will happen.

Posted by: Jumbo Shrimp | May 27, 2013 7:42:30 PM

@Nastar - Stan has already said he wouldn't be taking a job this year,'period non matter who offered. And Jeff has been out of coaching for a while. Still would be a good hire I'm sure, but last time I saw him interviewed he said he wasn't really looking to get back into it. It would probably take a special hire.

Posted by: Matt | May 27, 2013 7:48:44 PM

Special offer/job* sorry

Posted by: Matt | May 27, 2013 7:49:33 PM

Matt, it's all about the benjamins. Same as Cowher, keep laying million dollar bills on the table and at some point all of them will say yes.


Posted by: NASTAR14 | May 27, 2013 7:57:24 PM

I really like the relatively quick signing. None of the long drag-out process of elimination. Good luck Coach Clifford. Go Hornets!

Posted by: eduardo | May 27, 2013 7:58:02 PM

Ewing i would take a shot at to groom if this doesnt work

Posted by: jaymoney | May 27, 2013 7:58:25 PM

yahoo sports is reporting that Clifford will hire Ewing as his lead assistant. Why not bring Quinn Snyder as an assistant also. If Clifford falters just promote Snyder. Wouldn't mind seeing Dell Curry on the bench either. Now if we have the organization rid itself of the useless Whitfield... One can dream can't one?

Posted by: Amillionwayz | May 27, 2013 7:59:59 PM

Bill Laimbeer should've been hired! I'd pay money to see one of his players talk back to him! Clifford was a horrible hire! We need to hire an exorcist not a journneyman assistant coach!

Posted by: joe cool | May 27, 2013 8:07:54 PM

I wouldn't call Clifford a journeyman assistant. Hell he spent 5 years in Orlando and 3 in LA. But then again what assistant hasn't bounced around a little.

Posted by: Amillionwayz | May 27, 2013 8:11:08 PM

joe cool, I am with you....would LOVE to see Laimbeer as head coach!! GREAT IDEA!

Amillionways, Clifford absolutely defines "journeyman".

Posted by: NASTAR14 | May 27, 2013 8:17:17 PM

Bad hire, we need a younger coach.Also ECU has not had a good team in 40 years.He has been an assistant on bad teams.Good job Choi !!

Posted by: The Truth | May 27, 2013 8:54:09 PM

I know I left a comment here, BONE-NELL!

Again, Charlottean: This coaching selection will have nothing to do with the 2013 NBA Draft pick. Once again, the BOOBcats have no shot at Nerlens Noel, as the Charlotte has the 4th pick in the draft. Therefore, get your head out of your ass and pay attention. Cleveland is taking Noel, no questions asked.
The BOOBcats would love to get their hands on Ben McLemore, but he'll be gone before the 4th pick. Coach Clifford favors defense, so the choice will come down to either Center Alex Len or Shooting Guard Victor Oladipo. The BOOBcats will NOT be able to trade down, as the 3rd pick may be as successful as the 10th selection in this year's draft.
The BOOBcats are NOT drafting the next Grandmama, the BOOBcats are NOT drafting a Zeller, and the BOOBcats are not wasting their time with a Plumless.
Copied, pasted and saved to Word.

Posted by: Bob has gotten Horny | May 27, 2013 9:03:35 PM

The smart hire would have been former Hornet Kurt Rambis.

Posted by: Bob has gotten Horny | May 27, 2013 9:06:25 PM

Good choice. Let's improve the product on the court.

Posted by: par404 | May 27, 2013 9:11:34 PM

Great hire. Very similar to Tom Thibs. Hopefully he brings Ewing along to coach up Biyombo.

Posted by: g25 | May 27, 2013 9:15:25 PM

Nothing will happen until they are ready to pay for talent.

Posted by: JP | May 27, 2013 9:18:58 PM

I cannot believe you people in Charlotte want to change the name. Michael just doesn't have the capital to hire a top tier coach, so get used to assistant coaches that will work for peanuts.

I knew this when I sold him the team and gave him a loan. Good luck Charlotte, South Carolina...or wherever you're located. Clifford the big dog is not going to get you out of the basement. Michael wanted to own a team, but everyone understood he couldn't actually "run" a team.

Posted by: Robert Johnson | May 27, 2013 9:19:29 PM

loved the jumboshrimp comment,,not really sure about the hire Chris Brousard said we had more to choose from because of the $$$$ wish there was a way to go after Milsap...MJ probably wants cheap alternative, like everything else..hinthint COACH

Posted by: JC | May 27, 2013 9:26:20 PM

Folks this hiring is Mike Dunlap 2.O.

Posted by: Jerry Jones | May 27, 2013 10:41:26 PM

Another assistant, but still, not the same story as with Vincent and Dunlap. There's a difference between Clifford's 13 years of NBA assistant coach experience, and 3 years for Vincent (1) and Dunlap (2) combined.

Also important, he appears to have better people skills - and hence, the ability to get players ready to do their best for him - than those two put together.

Nice he was praised by Jeff Van Gundy, though it would've been much nicer if they had even tried to talk about this job with JVG himself. Why didn't they?
Yeah, it's the money. I'm not saying MJ will never spend big on this team, but I'm definitely saying he doesn't seem to think the time to do so is ripe, not yet.

My guess is Clifford will be pretty solid and will make this wretched team better; nothing to be jumping up and down for, though. If and when that's achieved - in two more years, with an improved roster too - they'll finally look for the coach who can lead the Hornets to deep playoffs.
This is my impression of this hire.
We'll see.

Posted by: Sandy | May 28, 2013 1:13:12 AM

You can't hire a SVG type for this job. You will be back in Larry Brown Purgatory in 2 years. They will not develop players. Its not about money. Once they decided to so down this road, this is the only type of coach that can make it work.

Posted by: James R. | May 28, 2013 8:33:08 AM

bob there are things called trades.

I know he's going top 2 no question. We have 3 1st rounders next year to play with. We have some trade assets (sessions, taylor, haywood, etc.) trading from 4 to 1 or from 4 to 2 is far from impossible in this draft.

way to not understand life!

and dunlap should never be mentioned in the same breathe as sam vincent. dunlap got a raw deal. he made major progress with the guys that mattered and left the guys that didn't matter behind. when looking at the situation from a far and you say "coach A improved significantly while his roster got younger with franchise A who has had a million coaches in 9 years and 1 mediocre playoff birth and first round sweep" who really looks wrong?

blaming mike dunlap for the problems is insane. was he ever expected to win more than 21 games this past year? by anybody who can read at a 4th grade level or better? preseason we were picked across the board to finish 30th. we finished 29th. that's teetering on greatness right there.

Posted by: charlottean | May 28, 2013 9:20:23 AM

Charlottean, why do you insist to take up for Dunlap? He was a terrible coach, with no NBA experience, playing small ball and zone D too much, with no idea about rotations or substitutions.

The players did not like him. The only "progress" he made was giving Kemba the green light. Any PG who shoots more then he passes given the green light can average 17 a game. He did nothing to help MKG, Taylor, or Biz. He also did not give Henderson significant minutes until late in the season. How is that "major" progress?

Posted by: D.W.G. | May 28, 2013 9:37:28 AM

Charlottean, do you even follow basketball?
A) Why would the BOOBcats trade up for such a question mark as Nerlens Noel? He is an injured, unproved 19 year old kid that didn't even average double digits in ANY category. He's a huge risk, so dumping other 1st round picks for this Cat is just plain dumb.
B) The 2014 NBA is considered to be much stronger, and with the name change to the Hornets, 3 picks will be awesome. Again, Cho worked hard to get those three lottery picks, so what are you thinking?
C) The BOOBcats have NO ASSETS! Why trade Haywood when he only cost the team $2 Million per season? Ramon Sessions is needed as a PG for this team, or else the BOOBcats are back to square one. The team just drafted Taylor and they aren't getting rid of him after one year. He was a 2nd Round pick and he didn't do much. What are you looking for, the 50th pick this year.
Boy, you are lost. Hopefully Coach Clifford has more sense than you. The BOOBcats have 1 selection this year, and it will either be Len or Oladipo.

Posted by: Bob has gotten Horny | May 28, 2013 10:15:21 AM

I'm hoping the Bobcats find and develop a true an identity, to complete in the league. If they don't they will be rebuilding for a long time to come

Posted by: JC | May 28, 2013 12:17:42 PM

Coach Cliff is the real deal. That team will defend with anybody and they better be ready to work hard-witnessed it first hand He is a great choice.

Posted by: Leo B | May 28, 2013 1:59:49 PM

right so......noel is a question mark and len isn't. excellent argument, points noted.

nerlens noel college stats: 10.5 ppg 9.5 rpb 4.4 blocks per game as a freshmen. a year younger than len who is coming off of.....stress fracture surgery on his ankle? i prefer facts. personal choice, i know.

if you think that we NEED to hang on to haywood or sessions as opposed to taking those guys and turning them into long term building blocks, you're going to be very disappointed to find out that neither of them will wear a hornets jersey the following year. the fact that haywood only costs 2 million a year is the EXACT reason he's more valuable to us as a trade asset. We don't need him, but a contender could definitely use him for depth in case someone gets hurt. same with sessions. 33 year old mediocre non mentoring centers hold NO value to our team what so ever.

kemba was 19th in the league in assists last year on the team that was last in FG% in the league. those are not independent numbers. if he had guys knocking down shots at the end of his passes, you would see 7, 8 assists a game and he wouldn't change what he was doing at all. I hated this part of kemba's game as a rookie but he improved upon it drastically last year. he'll be fine. you're going to argue that his bad playmaking skills made our FG% bad but that's far from factual. We watched mullens miss a million and one wide open jumpers last year. warrick, thomas, sessions, haywood, biz, adrien all shot horrible %'s.

and yeah dunlap had problems with ben gordon and tyrus thomas and brendan haywood. let me know when they matter. we went from 7-59 to 21-61 while getting younger. That is SIGNIFICANT improvement in a year. i'm glad they hired clifford instead of snyder or sampson. there were some horrible choices and I think this one was solid especially noting the inclusion of patrick ewing. that is downright awesome.

Posted by: charlottean | May 28, 2013 3:47:56 PM

I am so hoping Ewing helps turn Biz into a beast.

Posted by: apauldds | May 28, 2013 4:44:12 PM

IMO biz project is a long process guys it will take 8-10yrs his too slow weak overall body strength he need fulltime training he's a good trade piece for some bench role players like hollins of the clippers more agile one...

Posted by: struckhead | May 28, 2013 8:38:06 PM

Why does nobody mention that Dunlap probably had one basic directive: Develop young players while still finishing in last . . . and I think he blew it.

I personally believe that if the Bobcats would have finished in last place, then Dunlap would still be here (as crazy as that sounds).

Posted by: Kenneth Hart | May 28, 2013 8:48:28 PM

Yes indeed charlottean, miracles happen, only in Charlotte. Young players like Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Byron Mullens and Bismack Biyombo didn't just get one year older and, hopefully, grew as pro players last season; no, they got younger!
Or, maybe THEY didn't get younger, but the team got younger. Yes, by adding veterans Ramon Sessions, Brendan Haywood, Ben Gordon, then Jannero Pargo and Josh McRoberts too, that's what the team did: it got younger! Just ask charlottean, he'll tell you all about it ("we went from 7-59 to 21-61 while getting younger").
But, he has one more try. Still, we actually added two rookies last season: Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeff Taylor; now, that's
a real infusion of younger blood in this team. Yes, even though this is about just two out of fifteen players, and it's generally agreed among fans that MKG's development last season was overall not quite meeting expectations - this is how the team got YOUNGER and better!

And Dunlap's poor people's skills, what does that matter?! Never mind that it was reported that this has to do with his personality, and therefore, it was here to stay and to cause more damage, if not for his firing, never mind that even Kemba (whose improvement is the one really positive thing about the Dunlap experiment in Charlotte) didn't like his micro-managing, never mind that Rich Cho (whom ch. trusts) agreed a) that this is a problem and b) it wasn't the only problem with that coach, just never mind, because ch. told you so. You know, he already made it clear in many posts: you know what you're talking about if, and only if, you agree with him; if you don't, these are the choice "analytic concepts" he has to throw in your face: moron, idiot, insane, nuts - ch., please add to your list, in case I missed something.

As for "the other problems" with Dunlap, I don't remember how many b-ball articles and fans' comments I read on Dunlap's coaching shortcomings. I also posted several comments on this, when it was relevant (before his firing), and I have no intention to rehash on this issue.
I have to agree with D.W.G. (who went back on some of those issues, above) when he asked you:
why in the world do you keep arguing on Dunlap, how the heck can you still support him, even after they fired him, how can you keep ignoring all of his shortcomings ?

I don't even get into details on the Noel issue now. Bob h.g.h. was right to call him "a huge risk". Many others said the same, both sports writers and fans. I already posted some comments on this player, and I see no need to repeat anything now. Closer to the Draft, maybe.

charlottean, you may ask yourself: why do I bother answering you again (after a few times I preferred to skip on such arguments), when I know for sure that you never change your mind, but you can be counted on for nasty answers ?

It's because of your annoying combination of being very self-righteous, extremely stubborn, and also rude (and I mean generally, not just this discussion thread in particular). It's a toxic combination. And yes, it's best to ignore it.

Posted by: Sandy | May 28, 2013 10:23:26 PM

sandy we've had this argument like 10 times before.

age per minutes played was lower. look it up. having old guys play 12 mpg doesn't make your team older when you have a starting 5 of 19, 20, 22, 23, and 25.

top 5 in minutes: walker, biyombo, henderson, mkg, sessions (who is/was 26 btw)

bottom 5 in minutes: diop, pargo, thomas, williams, warrick.

and you are annoyed by the way someone else types.

Posted by: charlottean | May 28, 2013 11:39:55 PM

Charlottean, you miss the entire point; Nerlens Noel will NOT be available to the BOOBcats in the 2013 NBA Draft, so move on.

Cho is NOT making any trade to move up, so while Len is just as big of a risk (in your eyes) as Noel, the Cats simply sit at 4 and select him...or Oladipo, which I believe will be the selection. Cho is NOT going to waste any of his 3 1st Round Draft picks in 2014 for Nerlens Noel, so come back to reality here.

You obviously do not understand how a Salary Cap works, as players like Haywood and Sessions fit perfectly into MJ's pay structure. You want to pay as many players as possible $5 million per season or less. You probably think MJ has tons of money, too.

Understand this: the BOOBcats are still the worst team in the NBA and there is no need to improve the wins and losses until the team changes their name to the Hornets. At that time, the Hornets will have 3 more first round draft picks, more salary cap room, and may just amnesty Tyrus Thomas (which they will NOT DO this year). Everything is being built around the 2014 offseason, so quit wasting everyone's time trying to come up with ways to win more games in 2013-2014 season.

Posted by: Bob has gotten Horny | May 29, 2013 7:50:16 AM

Bobs got it. That is the ultimate plan right there ladies and gentlemen. EVERYTHING is being built up to the 2014-15 season when they will have the Hornets name back, salary cap room, and maybe three first round picks.

Buckle your seatbelts. That first home game they play in 2014 will be AMAZING!

Posted by: D.W.G. | May 29, 2013 9:18:26 AM

the value is greater to others than it is to us. we want to capitalize on that.

we have enormous amounts of cap room the next 2 offseasons. the value contracts like sessions and haywood are more valuable to a cash strapped team in tax territory. we need young talent. sessions isn't old but he's not young either by nba standards. haywood is old. and he's not good enough to begin with. the longer you wait, the less value you get for haywood.

the whole point of signing those 2 guys was to acquire trade assets, not to build around them. they aren't going to be here in 2014. they're getting traded.

noel is far from off the table. cleveland wants porter. we're picking 4th. it's not mission impossible. whether cho wants noel or not isn't clear.

but len? if we were picking 7th It would be considerable but at 4? huge reach. might as well start calling him tskitisvili now. it's an absolute no brainer between he, noel, and zeller what the pecking order is. where you take them amongst the non bigs is muddy but len should definitely be the 3rd big off the board.

Posted by: charlottean | May 29, 2013 9:21:01 AM

Charlottean, I guess there's just no getting through to you. Cho is not trading up in this weak 2013 NBA Draft. Just because you have a hard on for Nerlens Noel, no one else is all that impressed. This is a lame-duck season for the Bobcats, but if you can't figure it out by now, there's no saving you.
No one is building their team around Haywood and Sessions; they will be used this year and then changes will be forthcoming when everything switches over to the Hornets. No one cares about this upcoming season, for it will be a lost and forgotten one. We're all so glad you're so in love with the BOOBcats, but the rest of this city could care less.
As for the this draft, Oladipo is going to be the pick, although the Cats will look long and hard at Len. Zeller is NOT going to be the pick, either. I screamed for two years that this BOOBcats team needed to draft Andre Drummond, and he had a successful rookie campaign with the Pistons. Further, don't be too surprised if Hendo is given a monster deal by another team and the Cats refuse to match it. Henderson is decent, but nothing earth-shattering. That is why the team will go with Oladipo in the upcoming draft, to protect themselves in case Henderson walks. Yes, that is the reality of it, as a few teams have Gerald overvalued.
The party starts when the team name changes and three new draft picks arrive in town for the 2014-2015 NBA Season.

Posted by: Bob has gotten Horny | May 29, 2013 10:34:38 PM

I don't know what you are arguing. I know he WON'T trade up. i'm saying he SHOULD. i'm not betting on it. haywood and sessions are trade chips, nothing more. you said we shouldn't trade them because they have cheap salaries which is the exact thing that makes them valuable in trades.

I understand the value in drafting oladipo as insurance and leverage for henderson leaving, but that's a horrible reach for a guy whose potential is the same as henderson's (who was drafted 12th). and when we're hurting so bad for help up front.

there aren't many teams that COULD offer henderson much though. the teams with cap room often have a 2 guard solidified (new orleans, orlando, houston, sacramento assuming they tender evans (already have thorton making 8 a year), milwaukee will surely go reddick/ellis or reddick/jennings, etc.

only teams that really have a wide open shot are phoenix and utah and maaaaybe detroit (but they want mayo, ellis or evans). and if we don't take oladipo, one of them will which will take them out of the mix. all the other teams that would absolutely love to have henderson either have to make several moves to pull it off or get him to sign MLE which there aren't too many teams that are even going to have that available and we could easily match that. he's restricted. the ball is in our court. he's not going to get an offer of 8 million a year for 5 years. he's worth every penny of 30. you could even front load the contract a bit so that it doesn't hurt us when we're extending kemba and biz and mkg. completely possible he signs the tender and plays it out to get to UFA next summer. we have plenty of cap room given that mullens played himself OUT of an extension (maybe even a tender) and thomas will probably be amnestied. and we have a few guys that could easily be dumped to clear more space if needed to make a big move happen. we're in good shape, there's no reason not to resign henderson even if he is overpaid a bit and even if we DO draft oladipo or mclemore. we aren't going to get better value in free agency.

Posted by: charlottean | May 30, 2013 10:36:34 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.