After interviewing multiple candidates in recent weeks, the Charlotte Hornets have confirmed the appointment of San Antonio Spurs assistant James Borrego as their new head coach.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the two parties have agreed on a four-year deal with the Hornets holding a team option on the fourth season.
Borrego replaces Steve Clifford who was fired at the end of the season after failing to lead the team to the playoffs for the second straight year.
The 41-year-old becomes the 11th coach in the franchise's history and is believed to be the first Hispanic-American to be a full-time NBA head coach.
“We are thrilled to have James join our franchise,” said Hornets general manager Kupchak. “He brings a wealth of experience and a strong track record of player development from his time as a coach in San Antonio, New Orleans and Orlando.
"He has been a part of teams that have ascended to the highest levels of success in our league and understands what it takes to win in the NBA.
"James is considered one of the NBA’s most well-regarded assistant coaches and it’s great to have him as part of our team.”
Borrego joins Charlotte after spending the last three seasons as an assistant coach to Gregg Popovich in San Antonio.
In total, he spent seven years with the Spurs but also had stints as an assistant with the New Orleans Pelicans and Orlando Magic over the last 10 years.
“I’m very excited to serve as the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets,” said Borrego. “I want to thank Michael Jordan, Mitch Kupchak and Buzz Peterson for this opportunity.
"I’m confident in the coaching foundation I’ve had the opportunity to develop during my time in San Antonio, Orlando and New Orleans, and I cannot wait to get to work in Charlotte.”
Per Wojnarowski, the Hornets were sold on Borrego's strong credentials as one of Popovich's longtime assistants, including his abilities in player development, devising game plans on both the offensive and defensive ends, and building relationships with players.
He will now be tasked with getting the North Carolina-based franchise back into the playoffs next year and making them more competitive in the east.
With the likes of Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard and Nicolas Batum at his disposal, he has a strong veteran core to work with.
But he'll also be key during the draft process and the free agency period in the offseason to improve the roster alongside Kupchak and the front office.
He will be faced with a difficult task in his first head coaching role in the league but the Hornets certainly feel he's the right man to lead them forward and deliver success.
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