According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Charlotte Hornets are closing in on an agreement to hire James Borrego to become their head coach. After meeting with Hornets’ owner Michael Jordan for a second formal interview over the weekend. Things began to progress quickly between the Hornets and Borrego.
James Borrego will take over a talented Charlotte Hornets’ team which finished on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Hornets’ front office will look to give Borrego every chance to be successful. However, the Hornets must make some tough decisions.
The new Hornets’ head coach was most recently with the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant. Borrego was hired by the Spurs in 2015.
James Borrego, 41-years-old, is well-regarded around the NBA as one of the top assistant coaches in the league. This is the second time that Borrego had a chance to run his own team. James Borrego oversaw an Orlando Magic team as the interim head coach prior to joining the Spurs. He would go on to guide them to a record of 10-20.
Joining the Charlotte Hornets means a return to the Southeast Division for James Borrego. It is expected to be a wide-open race for supremacy in the division.
Only the Miami Heat and Washington Wizards made the postseason from the division. The Charlotte Hornets finished the season eight games behind the Heat in the standings.
Both the Heat and Wizards are expected to undergo some changes in the offseason. That could open the door for a Hornets’ team that underachieved.
There will be some turnover on the Charlotte Hornets’ roster, as the recently hired (courtesy of the Los Angeles Times) Mitch Kupchak looks to build a championship contender. The Hornets could look to make a trade in an effort to gain some financial flexibility while making some upgrades to strengthen their core.
James Borrego will inherit a Hornets’ team with all-star guard Kemba Walker as the centerpiece of the franchise. Walker was one of the biggest names (courtesy of the Charlotte Observer) involved in NBA trade rumors leading up to the February trade deadline.
There is a strong possibility that center Dwight Howard will return for his second season with the Hornets.
Dwight Howard had a career renaissance of sorts this past season under former Charlotte Hornets’ head coach Steve Clifford. Howard showed flashes of the same bounce in his step that he had during years as a perennial NBA all-star. His averages of 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game served as proof that it was his best season since the 2013-14 campaign with the Houston Rockets.
Beyond Kemba Walker and Dwight Howard, much of the Hornets’ roster remains a question mark.
The Hornets have two possible building blocks in Frank Kaminsky and Jeremy Lamb. Both players fit the mold of James Borrego’s former Spurs’ team.
Nic Batum’s future is the one Hornets’ player that comes with the biggest doubts. When the Hornets originally acquired Nic Batum, it was their hope that he would pair with Kemba Walker perfectly. After one strong season together, Batum regressed. As his struggles came, so did the Hornets’ struggles.
Trading Nic Batum could possibly net the Hornets a first-round draft pick, as well as a young player with a high ceiling. In order for the James Borrego regime to have some success, dealing Batum might be the best way to jumpstart things for the Hornets. If the Hornets can find a taker for Marvin Williams’ contract, that would also be helpful.
James Borrego comes with his praise and should have a good run with the Charlotte Hornets. It will take a couple of shrewd trades for the Hornets to make this possible.