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Lakers assistant Steve Clifford set to coach Bobcats

The Charlotte Bobcats are finalizing an agreement with Lakers assistant Steve Clifford to become the team's next head coach, sources familiar with the situation told SI.com.

According to multiple reports, Clifford and the Bobcats have agreed to the framework of a three-year deal worth just under $6 million, with the third year being a team option.

Clifford has been one of the most sought after assistant coaches this summer. He was hired as an assistant to then-Lakers coach Mike Brown last year after spending the previous five seasons as an assistant coach with the Magic under Stan Van Gundy. Prior to that, Clifford was an assistant for three seasons in Houston under Jeff Van Gundy.

His only significant head coaching experience was at Division II Adelphi, where he compiled four straight 20-plus win seasons and won more than 70 percent of his games (86-36).

In a telephone interview, Stan Van Gundy credits Clifford with assisting in the development of Magic big men Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, Ryan Anderson and Earl Clark. Though Clifford has a reputation as a defensive-minded coach, Van Gundy said Clifford "is not a specialist."

"He has got it all," Van Gundy said. "He's a great Xs and Os guy and he has got a great ability to teach and he has great relationships with players. He's very much into preparation. He won't take any shortcuts. Steve will put a great emphasis on developing players. Not just skill development, but using film, talking to guys individually, spending time with them. And on the court he will emphasize defense, ball movement and guys playing together. He will be a fabulous head coach."

The agreement between the Bobcats and Clifford was first reported by Yahoo! Sports.

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