1:06pm: The general belief is that Borrego will have a chance to have the interim tag removed and stay beyond the end of the season if he performs well down the stretch, writes Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The team has hired Igor Kokoskov, a former assistant with the Clippers, Pistons, Suns and Cavs, to serve as Borrego’s lead assistant, as Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reported and as the Magic later formally announced.
10:31am: There’s increasing chatter that the Magic intend to let interim head coach James Borrego finish the season in that position, preferring a slow-paced search for his eventual replacement, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Brian K. Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel suggested that was the case earlier this morning, following up on his assertion from last week that the timing at play and the Magic’s track record indicated that Borrego would stick until season’s end. Borrego last week said that the Magic hadn’t told him their plans and said he took that as a sign that he’d remain in the job. Still, there’s widespread belief that the Magic will ultimately fill the position with a proven coaching veteran, as Schmitz also wrote last week.
Scott Skiles had drawn the most prominent mention as a candidate for the vacancy created when the team fired Jacque Vaughn, and Skiles indeed has interest, according to Schmitz. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders had heard earlier that Skiles wouldn’t take the job without personnel control and that his candidacy was a phenomenon driven by Magic ownership. Mark Jackson, Michael Malone, Vinny Del Negro and, if he were to shake loose from the Bulls, Tom Thibodeau have also drawn mention in connection with the Magic coaching job since the team let go of Vaughn. So, too, did George Karl, who publicly expressed interest in the position, helping prompt the Kings to hire him before the Magic had a chance to snap him up.
Borrego had been an assistant coach with the Magic throughout Vaughn’s tenure, and he previously served as an assistant for the Pelicans and Spurs. He began his NBA career in 2003 as an assistant video coordinator for the Spurs, aligning him with GM Rob Hennigan, as well as Vaughn, as part of San Antonio’s sphere of influence. Borrego has gone 2-2 so far as interim head coach for the Magic.