Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford will step down at the conclusion of this season when his contract expires and is expected to take on an advisory role in the front office.

The Hornets are a dismal 18-57 after going 27-55 in 2022-23 in Clifford’s return to Charlotte.

“This is the appropriate time for me to step down,” Clifford said. “I believe this is best for me and the organisation. I’m excited about the future of the Hornets – our young core of players.

“I want to thank all the Hornets players and staff for their work the past two seasons and our Hornets fans for their continued support of our team.”

The 62-year-old Clifford began his NBA head coaching career in 2013-14 with Charlotte and posted a 196-214 record in five seasons while reaching the playoffs twice.

The Hornets fired Clifford following the 2017-18 season, and he was hired six weeks later as the head coach of the Orlando Magic.

Clifford went 96-131 with a pair of play-off appearances in three seasons with Orlando before the sides parted ways following the 2020-21 campaign.

Charlotte then brought Clifford back in June 2022, and his 241 coaching victories are the most in franchise history.

“I have a tremendous amount of appreciation for Coach Cliff, and I understand his decision to step down,” Hornets Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Jeff Peterson said.

“His basketball knowledge, teaching ability and work ethic are well-respected throughout the NBA. He has had to endure some very difficult circumstances the past two years, and yet our players have continued to compete, work hard and develop.

“On behalf of the entire Hornets organisation, I want to thank Steve for all his efforts, and we look forward to having him remain a part of the organisation.”

The Hornets said they would immediately begin the search process for their next head coach.

“We will look to hire someone that shares our values and vision in developing our young core and creating a culture and identity based on teamwork, accountability and competitiveness,” Peterson said.