Boston Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga has emerged as a…

Boston Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga has emerged as a strong candidate to be the next Charlotte Hornets coach, the Observer has learned. While the Hornets haven’t made a final choice, Larranaga, 43, is under strong consideration, a source familiar with the process confirmed.

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Larranaga is the top assistant to Celtics coach Brad Stevens. The Celtics have taken a 2-0 lead over the Philadelphia 76ers in a second-round playoff series. He is the son of Miami Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga. He was actually born in Charlotte in 1975. Larranaga had a long playing career in Europe before going into coaching in 2008. He worked in the NBA’s Developmental League, coaching the Erie Bay Hawks, before being hired by the Celtics in 2012.
Ex-NBA head coach Jim Cleamons had an informal phone conversation with Bucks general manager Jon Horst this morning in regards to their head coach opening, a source said. Cleamons, who was an assistant coach when Michael Jordan starred with the Chicago Bulls, is also getting interest for head coach openings with Jordan's Charlotte Hornets and Chicago State. Cleamons, 68, won an NBA championship as a player with the Lakers and nine as an assistant coach with the Bulls and Lakers.
The Bulls have granted permission to the Hornets to interview associate head coach Jim Boylen for Charlotte’s head coaching vacancy, sources said. Boylen, who has been Fred Hoiberg’s top assistant coach since 2015, has head coaching experience in college at Utah and also directed the Bulls to a victory over the Wizards on Easter Sunday when Hoiberg fell ill.
David Fizdale, a frontrunner from the start of this process, has reportedly "gained serious traction" to becoming the next Knicks coach. A source confirmed that language reported by Yahoo! but also emphasized a deal with Fizdale was not finalized. As of Wednesday evening, other candidates had not been informed they were out of the race, according to multiple sources. Fizdale also interviewed - or was reportedly scheduled to interview -- for the jobs in Charlotte, Phoenix and Orlando.
Orazio Cauchi: Ettore Messina had a four hour long meeting with the @Charlotte Hornets yesterday, according to @Gazzetta_it . The meeting was positive but no final decision was taken. Hornets have still to interview other candidates but Messina is definitely in consideration for the job. #NBA
Adrian Wojnarowski: San Antonio assistant Ime Udoka will interview for the Charlotte Hornets coaching vacancy later this week, league sources tell ESPN. Udoka joins Spurs assistant Ettore Messina and David Fizdale among candidates scheduled to meet Charlotte this week.
The Charlotte Hornets will act quickly to interview San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina for their head-coaching opening, as soon as the Spurs season is complete. A source familiar the situation said Messina will interview as early as the middle of next week, if the Spurs are eliminated by the Golden State Warriors by then. Ettore coached the Spurs in Thursday’s loss to the Warriors, as head coach Gregg Popovich mourned the death of his wife, Erin.
The Charlotte Hornets will act quickly to interview San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina for their head-coaching opening, as soon as the Spurs season is complete. A source familiar the situation said Messina will interview as early as the middle of next week, if the Spurs are eliminated by the Golden State Warriors by then.
Messina, 58, was a highly successful International coach (four European championships) in Italy, Spain and Russia before joining Popovich’s staff in 2016. He has a previous connection to new Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak, from when Messina served as a consultant to Kupchak’s previous team, the Los Angeles Lakers, in 2012.
Sources have indicated Orlando is hotter on Stackhouse’s trail, and he reportedly has an interview there shortly. Charlotte has expressed interest, too. Knicks GM Scott Perry was in the Pistons’ front office, overlapping for two seasons when Stackhouse played in Detroit.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Charlotte Hornets have received permission to interview San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina for head coach opening, league sources tell ESPN. GM Mitch Kupchak and Messina worked together with Lakers, when Messina was part of Mike Brown’s coaching staff.
Chris Mannix: An early favorite among Hornets officials: David Fizdale. But Fizdale--who is highly regarded despite how things ended in Memphis--could have better options.
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June 28, 2022 | 11:13 am EDT Update
The Nets and Irving did come close to an agreement late last week, sources said, before talks stalled out. Sources said Irving had three potential opt-in-and-trade options available to pursue before making his final decision. Across the league, there are only five teams with projected salary-cap space: Detroit, San Antonio, Orlando, Indiana and New York, with all wanting to build around younger players or prioritizing other free agents. For their part, the Lakers were much more motivated to have Irving sign as a free agent than they were in acquiring the three-time All-NBA guard via trade, sources said. And as Irving went through his opt-in-and-trade options — as well as the potential of joining the Lakers in free agency — the decision to return to Brooklyn crystalized.
Irving’s agent, Shetellia Riley Irving, and the Nets front office held extensive and productive extension discussions over the past six days, with sources on both sides describing good-faith negotiations to reach a new deal. The Nets and Shetellia Riley Irving worked through various proposals, including a two-year max extension that included incentives based on games played as well as a four-year max that included two years guaranteed and triggers for years three and four based on the games played in years one and two, sources said. Irving showed a willingness to accept an incentive-based deal before a final counter was made to the Nets, according to sources: a short-term contract extension protecting both sides with a player option. Brooklyn declined.
Several teams are expected to continue to pursue Irving via trade, but his opt-in makes clubs consider more closely whether to trade assets in a deal for a player who will enter unrestricted free agency in 2023. Teams across the league understand Irving’s talent, and now a full season in 2022-23 allows him the opportunity to prove himself once again, then return to the market and earn a maximum contract next summer. Multiple sources with knowledge of his decision said Irving wants to prioritize winning a championship next season and show why he’s one of the best players in the league.