According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports Lakers assistant coach Steve Clifford will leave the organization today as he was hired in principle by the Charlotte Bobcats.
Clifford will sign a two-year deal with a team option for a third that could be worth approximately $6 million, league sources said.
Clifford was brought to Los Angeles with Dwight Howard and was going to remain an assistant coach for the 2013-2014 season. However the Lakers organization granted him permission to engage in discussions with other teams. Before his one year Laker stint Clifford spent 5 years as an assistant within the Orlando Magic organization. Even before that Steve spent four seasons with the Houston Rockets, three years with the New York Knicks, and spent time at East Carolina Univeristy.
Clifford had quickly become a sought after coach this off-season as he was also in the running and was interviewed for the Milwaukee Bucks head coaching position. Steve will replace Mike Dunlap as the Bobcats head coach who finished with a 21-61 record in his first season as head coach.
Clifford will become the sixth head coach for the Bobcats organization since 2007. Steve may have a difficult time ahead of him in becoming a head coach within the NBA for the first time. However, his Bobcats roster does hold a lot of promise as well as the number 4 draft pick in the upcoming NBA draft.
As for the Lakers organization, Clifford becomes the fifth coach to leave the franchise since their early playoff exit. Head Coach Mike D’Antoni told assistants Bernie Bickerstaff and Chuck Person that they would not return a week into their off-season. Next came Eddie Jordan, as he was hired by the University of Rutgers followed by Phil Handy, player development, who was hired by Mike Brown and the Cleveland Cavaliers. That leaves Dan D’Antoni and Darvin Ham as the only assistant coaches remaining on staff. Not only will the Lakers make player personnel changes this off-season but expect to hear more staff personnel news as well.
Stay tuned for more news and updates here on LakerNation.com