James Borrego Rumors
The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have named James Borrego assistant coach. Borrego returns to San Antonio after spending seven seasons with the organization from 2003-10. Borrego began as an assistant video coordinator with the Spurs in the summer of 2003 and finished his tenure as an assistant coach. He was on staff for two championships with the Silver and Black in 2005 and 2007. Most recently, Borrego served as the interim head coach for the Orlando Magic during the 2014-15 season. Prior to, he served as an assistant coach in Orlando beginning in 2012. Before joining the Magic, Borrego was an assistant for the New Orleans Pelicans from 2010-12.
Shams Charania: Orlando’s James Borrego is finalizing an assistant coaching deal to join Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, sources tell RealGM.
Orlando Sentinel: Where do you stand on hiring a coaching staff? Are you going to get James Borrego back? Scott Skiles: That’s kind of up to J.B. He and I spoke again yesterday. I gave him a week — I gave him until Monday — to see if there was anything out there that interested him, and I believe he’s talked to a team. So I think he’s kind of waiting to see what happens with that. I’m certainly not going to stand in his way. We’ll just kind of see how it plays out over the weekend.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are in talks with former Orlando Magic coach James Borrego about a spot on first-year coach Billy Donovan’s staff, according to league sources. The Thunder, sources told ESPN.com, have emerged as a potential landing spot for Borrego, who posted a 10-20 record last season as the Magic’s interim coach.
Skiles said he’s “very interested” in making Borrego a member of his coaching staff. Skiles-coached teams have been known for their defense. Since the 2000-01 season, his teams ranked in the top 10 in defensive efficiency in seven out of 12 partial or full seasons, according to the NBA’s official statistics database.
Although the Magic intend to interview interim coach James Borrego for the position, the Magic are strongly inclined to hire someone with extensive NBA head-coaching experience and, preferably, someone with extensive playoff experience.
Like James Borrego, Scott Skiles is viewed internally as an attractive candidate, but according to sources, that process has not started yet for the Magic and they will not make a hasty decision or try and rush the process artificially.
Although the Orlando Magic’s coaching search will focus on a handful of candidates with extensive head-coaching experience, general manager Rob Hennigan said Thursday that James Borrego will be interviewed for the job. Borrego guided the Magic to a 10-20 finish after team officials appointed him interim head coach after Jacque Vaughn’s dismissal on Feb. 5.
Orlando Magic interim coach James Borrego and Denver Nuggets counterpart Melvin Hunt worked their final games in charge Wednesday night before their two teams formally launch coaching searches, according to league sources. Sources told ESPN.com this week that neither Orlando nor Denver, at this point, is expected to make their interim coach full-time, with both clubs interested in pursuing full-time successors to the ousted Jacque Vaughn and Brian Shaw from outside their respective organizations.
Borrego and the Magic headed into Monday’s penultimate game at 10-18, having beaten playoff contenders such as Chicago, Portland, Boston, Milwaukee and New Orleans. And to further illustrate how the players have responded to Borrego calm, but firm ways, the Magic have had the lead in the fourth quarter in 18 of the 28 games. “I absolutely believe that I can do this,’’ Borrego said. “My confidence is very high and this position has forced me to get there. Give our players credit and our staff credit because they have helped me get through this. “My focus has always been on the players. From the minute that I took over, it’s been about the players and doing whatever I can to help them,’’ Borrego continued. “Through that process I had to grow and build a strength and a confidence about myself as a person and a coach. I’ve found that. I’m a ways from where I want to be, but I’m closer than I’ve ever been.’’
The NBA is set to become the first U.S. professional sports league to visit Cuba since President Barack Obama ordered diplomatic relations between the countries to be restored. The league will hold a four-day development camp and host clinics for youth from April 23-26. Recently retired two-time MVP Steve Nash, newly elected Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo, and former WNBA star Ticha Penicheiro will take part, along with NBA coaches Quin Snyder of Utah and James Borrego of Orlando. The league said it will make an official announcement on Tuesday.
“I was so fortunate to even get a few minutes with him my first year, and he didn’t even know my name,’’ said Borrego, who quickly became known as `J.B.’ to Popovich. “But as the year went along, we spent more time in the film room together, just Pop and I one-on-one watching film. I would say nothing. He would watch. And slowly but surely, he’d begin to ask me questions. We’d talk basketball. Our relationship just continued to grow. He put me in great positions to grow as a coach, as a basketball individual.’’
“I think about him every time I step on that floor,’’ Borrego said candidly of Popovich’s influence. “And I constantly refer to him, think back to him and wonder what he would do – while still trying to be my own coach. I have to find my own way through that, but I do often think about him.’’ In his nearly eight weeks on the job as the Magic’s interim coach since taking over for the fired Jacque Vaughn on Feb. 5, Borrego has faced off against former coaching colleagues in Monty Williams (New Orleans), Brett Brown (Philadelphia) and Mike Budenholzer (Atlanta). While those meetings were certainly packed with emotion for Borrego, this is entirely different. This is the pupil against the master; the former intern against the living legend; interim against incomparable.
First, the franchise must settle on a new head coach. Although team officials have been impressed with Borrego, it seems most likely that the team will seek to hire a more experienced coach with a proven track record. The coaching search likely will be a methodical search that could last two or three months.
“I still think about `Bud’ almost every (scouting report) that I do because of the principles he taught me and what to look for,’’ Borrego said on Tuesday before his Magic (22-50) started practice prep for the Hawks (53-17). “I credit (Budenholzer) for a lot of my growth as a coach. He’s a special man and a special coach and friend. He’s someone I’ll always rely on whether it’s on the court or off the court stuff. I still tell him all the time that I still learn from him. I watch his teams because they play the right way. It’s no coincidence that they’re top in the East because he’s got his handprint all over that team.’’ Both Borrego and Budenholzer got their starts in the NBA in the San Antonio film room as video grunts tasked with the mundane job of pouring through hours of game footage to find teaching points and advantages for the Spurs. That work allowed both to ultimately become assistant coaches and later head coaches at the NBA level.
Now, they have something else in common: They’re both serving as interim coaches. Borrego was moved into his current role on Feb. 5, while Hunt was moved into his current role on March 3. “My kindred brother,” Hunt said when asked about Borrego. “We may just break down and cry and just hug and [sing] kumbaya at halfcourt before the game,” Hunt added. “It’s a tough situation to be in, but we’re both big boys, and we’re both embracing it. He’s done an incredible job.”
The head coaching job has opened at Magic interim coach James Borrego’s alma mater, the University of San Diego. The Toreros (15-16) fired Bill Grier on Monday after eight seasons. Borrego, 37, played forward for three seasons at San Diego and then served as a graduate assistant coach. The Magic will begin a coaching search after the season and the odds of Borrego being retained are long. They are 6-10 under Borrego, who took over for the fired Jacque Vaughn in early February.
Steve Kyler: Borrego said the addition of Igor Kokoskov has been really helpful, as he’s brought a blank-slate mentality to the process. Borrego said Kokoskov is seeing the team really for the first time and thats been helpful in crafting the process, in all phases of the game.
“Overall, I love the city,” Frye said. “I love this opportunity to play with these guys. After the [coaching] change, I think it’s really for me, in my personal opinion, been a breath of fresh air with J.B. I’m not saying that it wasn’t awesome before. But I’m just saying the way his philosophy is a little different, it’s a little bit more my style. For me, I’ve just tried to do the best I can every day, and it’s been a learning process. I kind of know I’m not the fan favorite right now. But I think that, for me, I’m just trying to do everything I can to help the team both on and off the court and help us get wins.”
Not only do the Orlando Magic intend to have James Borrego finish out the season as their interim head coach, but the organization has hired a new lead assistant coach, Igor Kokoskov, to help Borrego the rest of the way. Kokoskov has worked previously as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns and the Cleveland Cavaliers.