HoopsHype Steve Clifford rumors

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March 18, 2015 Updates

Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford made a bold statement recently, saying small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has the talent to be the best perimeter defender among this generation of NBA players. Not bold enough apparently. On Thursday Kidd-Gilchrist trumped Clifford’s expectation. “I want to say ever; not just in the league (now). The best defender this league has seen,” Kidd-Gilchrist told the Observer. Charlotte Observer

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December 31, 2014 Updates

The decision to shut down Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson was essentially made at halftime of Monday’s overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. That according to Hornets coach Steve Clifford, who said he and head athletic trainer Steve Stricker agreed Jefferson’s groin injury was too debilitating to let him keep playing. “At halftime we spoke and agreed that we were going to sit Al down and say, ‘We appreciate you want to play, but…’ ” Clifford said pre-game Wednesday. “It’s great that he wants to be out there and is team-first and wants to play. But he just can’t move.” Charlotte Observer

December 28, 2014 Updates

Approach is everything,” Clifford said after a 102-94 home loss to the Orlando Magic. “We didn’t show up with the attitude to beat anybody tonight.” Clifford said it’s not an excuse that the Hornets (10-21) got home at 3 a.m. from a road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. He said three or four of his players simply weren’t prepared to play, and that cost this team dearly. Charlotte Observer

“I don’t care how old you are or how young you are, you’ve got to be ready to play,” Clifford said. “Two or three guys had no intensity and that cost the whole team.” It was unclear specifically who Clifford meant, but obviously not point guard Kemba Walker. He scored a career-high 42 points to keep the Hornets in a game they might have lost by 20 or more to an Orlando team with a 12-21 record. Charlotte Observer

December 27, 2014 Updates

The context on this is Vonleh had surgery in early September to repair a sports hernia. That cost him the voluntary workouts, where the basics of the Hornets’ system were taught, plus almost all of the preseason. I asked Hornets coach Steve Clifford to offer specifics why he doesn’t play Vonleh in anything but mop-up minutes right now. ”It’s the speed of the game: To play consistent, regular minutes you have to have a comfort level with how the NBA game is played,” Clifford said. “Unfortunately once the season starts you only have certain stretches of the year where you can practice a lot. He’s a 19-year-old who missed all of September, when the foundation was put in, and all of October and is now playing catch-up. The thing that gives him a chance is he’s very gifted and a great worker. But it would be tough for anybody” to catch up quickly after missing his rookie preseason. Charlotte Observer

December 25, 2014 Updates
December 21, 2014 Updates

While the Hornets are looking to make changes after a poor start for a team expected to make the playoffs, there is no certainty they will move recently signed Lance Stephenson, whose time in Charlotte has been disappointing at best. According to league sources, Stephenson has clashed with teammates, and coach Steve Clifford has placed the onus of Stephenson’s adjustment on the team’s veteran players, hoping they could police themselves and convince Stephenson to become more of a team player. Stephenson may become a more attractive piece near the Feb. 19 trade deadline, but the Hornets would want value in return Boston Globe

December 8, 2014 Updates

Making the playoffs in his first year with the Charlotte Hornets automatically triggered a team option for the 2015-16 season in coach Steve Clifford's contract, ESPN.com has learned. League sources say Clifford's original three-year, $6 million deal to coach Michael Jordan's team now is a fully guaranteed three-year deal, thanks to the then-Bobcats' surprising 43-39 mark last season, which was good for the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. ESPN.com

December 7, 2014 Updates

Clifford, the former Lakers assistant who led the Hornets to the playoffs in his first season, appears bewildered with the results. “I’d say disappointed,” Clifford said when asked his reaction to the poor start. “I thought at this point that we’d be in a much different place than we are. There’s a lot of things — we still haven’t gotten our playing groups down at the same time, we’ve certainly had stretches of games where we played well enough to win. “We have to sustain our play better. We have to keep our eye on getting better, which is what this league is all about.” Boston Globe

November 27, 2014 Updates

After missing his first two shots of the second half Wednesday, Stephenson was replaced by Brian Roberts at the 8:04 mark of the third quarter and didn't return for the remainder of the game. Stephenson had eight points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals in 23 minutes. He was short on answers when asked afterward about his diminished role late in games. "It's Coach's decision," Stephenson said. Pressed further about his status, Stephenson said he's no longer dealing with some of the nagging injuries that slowed him in training camp and entering the season. "I'm not hurt. I'm healthy," said Stephenson, who has seen his playing time reduced over each of the past five games. "There are no more excuses. Hey, it's Coach's decision if he doesn't want to play me in the fourth [quarter]. I'm just going to continue to work hard and do what it takes to win games." ESPN.com

October 24, 2014 Updates

“We’ve had an up and down preseason,” Clifford said. “Some of that is due to injuries, but that right there, that’s an unacceptable effort by most of the guys. If we’re going to play like that, it’s going to be a struggle.” Gaston Gazette

October 21, 2014 Updates

Rick Bonnell: Someone asked Steve Clifford about his health 1 year removed from heart scare. Cliff joked his goal is a "stent-free" season. Clifford was hospitalized early last season with chest pains. Blockage was cleared before a heart attack occurred. Twitter @rick_bonnell

October 14, 2014 Updates

Clifford, who signed a three-year, $6million deal with a team option for 2015-16, raves about his experience with Jordan. "From the time I've been here, I think he's been motivated and aggressive to make our team better," Clifford tells USA TODAY Sports. "And then aside from that ... he's valuable to me because he watches every game. ... He gives me good feedback on what he sees, and he's not afraid to tell me when there are things that he thinks we could be doing better or I could be doing better. But he's also extremely supportive." USA Today Sports

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