Charlotte Hornets to Hire James Borrego as New Head Coach

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James Borrego
NEW YORK, USA - APRIL 15: Orlando Magic interim head coach James Borrego gestures during an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York City on April 15, 2015. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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The Charlotte Hornets are finalizing a deal to hire San Antonio Spurs assistant James Borrego as their new head coach, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Charlotte Hornets Hire James Borrego as Head Coach

Borrego is set to replace former head coach Steve Clifford, who was fired after a disappointing 36-win season. Borrego’s hiring comes one month after the Hornets appointed long-time Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak as the team’s new president. Entering the league in 2001, Borrego worked with Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich on two separate occasions. As one of the league’s most well-respected assistants, the former Orlando Magic interim head coach has now finally achieved a long-awaited goal. Turning down an offer last year to coach the University of New Mexico, Borrego played the waiting game. His patience is now paying off. This is an opportunity Borrego has worked hard for, but the 40-year-old has a tough task ahead.

Challenges Ahead

Working alongside Kupchak, Borrego will have many obstacles to overcome. A team mired in mediocrity, the Hornets have been bouncing between the lottery and the playoffs for a few years now. Borrego must find some consistency with this current roster to take them to a higher level.

The team’s cap space situation is an absolute mess. Both Dwight Howard and Nicolas Batum are set to earn over $20 million next season. Health is also a big worry, with several players on the roster struggling to stay healthy in recent seasons. The Hornets also lack quality young prospects. Frank Kaminsky is yet to live up to the hype, with Charlotte expecting more from the former 9th overall pick. Then there’s Malik Monk, Charlotte’s lottery pick in 2017. Monk is clearly talented, yet the rookie saw little time on the court last season. In the few opportunities he was given, Monk mostly struggled.

Joining the likes of Steve Kerr, Mike Budenholzer, Brett Brown, and many others, Borrego becomes the latest member of the Popovich coaching tree. James Borrego may not be a household name, but he got this job for a reason.

 

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