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The Charlotte Hornets have reached agreement on a four-year contract to hire San Antonio Spurs assistant James Borrego as head coach, league sources told ESPN on Thursday. The Hornets will hold a team option on the fourth year of the contract, league sources said.
Borrego has already begun working to build his coaching staff with the Hornets, after beginning work on finalizing the contract Tuesday, league sources said. He is believed to the first full-time Hispanic-American NBA head coach. Kaleb Canales, who is of Mexican-American descent, served as interim coach of the Portland Trail Blazers for the final 23 games of the 2011-12 season.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Borrego will sign a four-year agreement with Charlotte, league sources tell ESPN.
Fifteen years removed from working his way into the NBA as an assistant video coordinator, James Borrego is now officially one of 30 head coaches at the top level of basketball. The Charlotte Hornets and Borrego finalized contract terms Thursday, after Borrego, 40, interviewed with team owner Michael Jordan over the weekend, a team source confirmed. Working for new general manager Mitch Kupchak, Borrego, 40, replaces Steve Clifford, who was fired last month after five seasons on the job.
Like Clifford, Borrego worked his way up from the bottom rung of the NBA, without the advantage of having played in the league. A former college player at the University of San Diego, Borrego got his first opportunity with the San Antonio Spurs breaking down game footage. He sufficiently impressed his bosses to be promoted to an assistant coach, serving in two separate stints with future Hall of Famer Gregg Popovich.
A formal agreement is expected to be reached later Tuesday, league sources said. Borrego met with Charlotte owner Michael Jordan over the weekend, after advancing to the final group of interviews along with Boston Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Spurs assistant James Borrego is finalizing a deal to become the next head coach of the Charlotte Hornets, league sources tell ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Spurs assistant James Borrego will interview for Milwaukee job next week, league sources tell ESPN. Borrego is one of two frontrunners for Charlotte job, sources said. So, Bucks will interview four Spurs: Borrego, Ettore Messina, Becky Hammon and front office’s Monty Williams.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Spurs assistant James Borrego and Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga are each gathering momentum in Charlotte’s search for a head coach, league sources tell ESPN.
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.
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.
Shams Charania: Sources: Charlotte and Orlando plan to interview Jerry Stackhouse, coach of Raptors’ G League team, for their head coach openings. Stackhouse also has interview with the Knicks this week.
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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September 18, 2018 | 10:54 pm EDT Update
JH: What does it mean to you when people say you are now “The best player in the East?” Giannis Antetokounmpo: There is going to be a lot of people out there that is going to say I am the best in the East and there is going to be some that says that I am not the best in the East, so my mindset is to keep working hard, focus on my game and to continue making my team better. We are trying to get as many wins as possible.
JH: With LeBron out of the East, has your mindset changed? What is your ultimate goal for next season? Giannis Antetokounmpo: The goal is still the same. Of course you have LeBron in the Western Conference. We still have great teams like Boston, Toronto, Philly, Indiana in the East. We just have to continue getting better every day as a team. We have a great team, we have a great coach, and hopefully we will have a great season and take another step forward this year.
JH: You are going to face an immense amount of pressure this season. You are already being a pegged as a favorite to win MVP. What have you been doing to improve your game this summer? Giannis Antetokounmpo: I’ve been working on a lot of shooting and a lot of post moves, been working on my handle and want to get better at finding the right people when I get double-teamed or sometimes triple-teamed. It is just about getting better as an overall basketball player.
To hear some insiders tell it, in Doncic, it is as if the Mavs have acquired a taller version of Jason Kidd, who led Dallas to a championship in 2011 and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this month. “Luka has been playing in the gym with the guys every day and he’s looked great,” forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “He’s a big body guard, he can move, he can shoot, he’s got unbelievable passing skills. “He’s got passes through the legs and behind the back in scrimmages already, so I think we’re going to have a lot of fun watching him over the years grow even more. He’s fun to watch.”