James Borrego

Hornets Sign James Borrego To Contract Extension

AUGUST 9: Borrego’s extension with the Hornets is now official, the team announced today in a press release.

“We’re extremely pleased with the job that Coach Borrego and his staff have done in their three years in Charlotte,”president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “Coach and his staff have built a strong player development program and it has resulted in the continued improvement of our young players. He has implemented an exciting style that our team likes playing and our Hornets fans enjoy watching. Coach has built strong relationships with our players, has demonstrated a great knowledge of the game and has provided tremendous leadership for our group.

“We’re thrilled to have signed him to an extension and look forward to the future with him leading our team as we continue to grow and improve.”


AUGUST 7: The Hornets and head coach James Borrego are finalizing a multi-year contract extension, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Charlotte had already decided to pick up its option on Borrego’s contract for next season and this will give him more long-term security.

When Charlotte hired Borrego in 2018, he was given a contract with three guaranteed years, along with an option for the fourth. Although his record is just 95-124 with the Hornets, he has spent most of that time overseeing a rebuilding project.

Borrego was an assistant coach for eight years with New Orleans, Orlando and San Antonio before becoming a head coach. He served as an interim head coach with the Magic for 30 games during the 2014/15 season.

Coaching Rumors: Magic, Bucks, Pacers, McMillan, Borrego

Of all the active head coaching searches around the NBA, the Magic‘s appears to be the most fluid, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Kenny Atkinson, identified last week as a candidate for the job, has been the named most frequently linked to Orlando’s vacancy, says Fischer, but the search is expected to be wide-ranging.

Lakers assistant Jason Kidd has been connected more and more to the Magic’s opening, per Fischer, who notes that Kidd has a connection to Orlando general manager John Hammond — the two worked in Milwaukee together from 2014-17 after Hammond hired Kidd as the Bucks’ head coach.

Former Warriors assistant Jarron Collins has talked to the Magic, sources tell Bleacher Report. Fischer says Nets assistant Ime Udoka is another candidate league sources have “strongly linked” the Orlando job, though there’s a sense Udoka may have more interest in the Celtics‘ job. Sixers assistant Sam Cassell may also be on the Magic’s radar, according to Fischer, who says Cassell would be popular among Orlando’s returning players.

Here are several more coaching-related notes and rumors from Fischer’s latest report:

  • With the Bucks tied at 2-2 in their second-round series, Mike Budenholzer is in a better position now than he was a few days ago, but if Milwaukee falls short of the Finals, there’s an expectation the team may make a change, per Fischer. In that scenario, Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee could be candidates for a promotion, since the team may just want a change at the top rather than an overhaul of the entire coaching staff, Fischer notes.
  • If the Bucks make a change, Mike D’Antoni would likely have interest in the job, and Olimpia Milano coach Ettore Messina would be another name to keep an eye on, Fischer writes. Rick Carlisle could also receive interest from Milwaukee, Fischer adds, though Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has said Carlisle’s not going anywhere.
  • Among the teams seeking a new coach, the Pacers appear to be the club most focused on hiring someone with previous head coaching experience, Fischer reports. Given how badly the hire of first-time head coach Nate Bjorkgren worked out, that’s not a huge surprise.
  • All indications are that Nate McMillan will sign a new contract with the Hawks to become the team’s permanent head coach, but until that happens, he’ll likely receive interest from other teams with coaching openings, including the Celtics, says Fischer.
  • Sources tell Fischer that the Hornets and head coach James Borrego are expected to work out a contract extension this offseason.

Hornets To Pick Up James Borrego’s Option For 2021/22

The Hornets will exercise their option for next season on head coach James Borrego, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

When Charlotte hired Borrego in 2018, he was given a contract with three guaranteed years, along with an option for the fourth. Although his record is just 95-124 with the Hornets, he has spent most of that time overseeing a rebuilding project.

With the offseason addition of Gordon Hayward in free agency and the performance of Rookie of the Year candidate LaMelo Ball, Charlotte appears to be headed in the right direction. Charania notes that the Hornets were in the race for home-court advantage before Hayward and Ball were injured (Twitter link). The team wound up making the play-in tournament, but was eliminated in the first game.

Borrego, 43, was an assistant coach for eight years with New Orleans, Orlando and San Antonio before becoming a head coach. He served as an interim head coach with the Magic for 30 games during the 2014/15 season.

Southeast Notes: Beal, Hornets, Borrego, Avdija

Now that Bucks All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is no longer going to be a 2021 free agent candidate for the Heat, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel wonders if Miami might pivot to eventually adding Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, who holds a $37.26MM player option for the 2022/23 season. After swapping out point guard John Wall for All-Star Russell Westbrook in the offseason, the Wizards are off to a 1-5 start.

The 6’3″ Beal, 27, is a two-time All-Star and could be a great fit on the Heat as both a secondary ball-handler and an off-ball cutter. He is currently averaging a career-best 31.2 PPG on 47.8% shooting from the field and 87.7% shooting from the charity stripe. Though his three-point shooting through the first six games of the season is a low 27.3%, he is a career 37.9% three-point shooter, averaging 6.0 triples per contest over the course of his career.

There’s more out of the Southwest Division:

  • The Hornets have had to adjust their rotation given the absence of starting center Cody Zeller, and their transition to a faster small-ball lineup has proven effective thus far, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
  • In a separate piece, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer wonders how long Hornets head coach James Borrego will ride his current starting lineup. Starting point guard Devonte’ Graham is struggling mighty with his offense, shooting 25% from the floor, while rookie draft selection LaMelo Ball could be a candidate for a promotion.
  • Wizards rookie wing Deni Avdija showcased his offensive skill set in his best game of the young season, a 130-109 Washington victory over the Timberwolves on Friday, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Avdija, the No. 9 pick in the 2020 draft, scored 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the floor, and recorded seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Hughes contends that it Avdija appears to have made progress in his ability to read the floor. “I love playmaking,” Avidja said. “I like making my teammates involved. I’m looking for them at every opportunity.”

Southeast Notes: Heat Free Agency, LaMelo, Collins, Avdija

With Giannis Antetokounmpo now signed to the Bucks on a record $228MM five-year extension, the Heat could pivot their 2021 free agency focus to alternative options, such as star forwards Kawhi Leonard and Blake Griffin, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Leonard can opt out of the contract he signed with the Clippers in the summer of 2019, and has sounded non-committal to L.A. beyond this season in recent interviews, in Winderman’s view. Meanwhile, though injuries limited Griffin to just 20 games last season, the 6’9″ power forward made the All-Star team for the Pistons in 2019.

The 2020 Eastern Conference champions should have significant cap space next summer to add a high-level player, though they will need to address the restricted free agency of sharpshooter Duncan Robinson.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Though rookie Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball has struggled through some growing pains in this early season, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer suggests that the No. 3 overall pick should see more playing time from coach James Borrego. Ball is averaging just 15.5 minutes so far. “It’s tough. There are a number of guys that are capable of handling minutes,” Borrego said. “LaMelo’s got to do his part. It’s my job to do what’s best for this club.
  • Hawks power forward John Collins may have rejected an extension offer in excess of $90MM prior to the season, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his Hoop Collective podcast. The high-scoring big man will become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2021, and could command a similar number – or a higher one – on the open market.
  • Rookie Wizards swingman Deni Avdija is getting the first-year treatment from league referees, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Head coach Scott Brooks contends that Avdija is receiving quick whistles from league officials. Early foul trouble limited Avdija to just 15 minutes of action in a loss to the Magic yesterday. “It’s just part of the rookie initiation,” Brooks commented. “I [reviewed the plays] at halftime… I didn’t think two of them were fouls.”

Southeast Notes: Rozier, Hawks, Wizards, Borrego

The big Hornets offseason acquisition of 2019, guard Terry Rozier, faces a new challenge in the 2020/21 season: acclimating to two key incoming pieces who will need touches in point guard LaMelo Ball and forward Gordon Hayward, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes.

“It just goes back to adjusting to what is best for the team — what can help us get better,” said Rozier, who cited the adjustment he made during the 2019/20 season to accommodate emergent Hornets point guard Devonte’ Graham. “I became a great catch-and-shoot guy last year. That’s adding to my game, doing multiple things.” 

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The College Park Skyhawks, G League affiliate of the Hawks, are among the several clubs anticipated to opt out of the proposed G League bubble season, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). The season is expected to transpire in the Atlanta area.
  • New Wizards reserve center Robin Lopez has joined the team for his first practice, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. Meanwhile, newly-extended power forward Davis Bertans has arrived in D.C. and is expected to be cleared for practice by Saturday, according to Ava Wallace of the Washington Post (via Twitter). Wallace notes that visa problems delayed the big man’s arrival.
  • Now that the Hornets appear to be making a push for the play-in tournament and a crack at the playoffs, head coach James Borrego will exercise more caution in the freedom he gives young players this season, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer notes.

Southeast Notes: Fultz, Bamba, Bonga, Borrego

Magic guard Markelle Fultz is confident he’ll play effectively in the league restart. He told Josh Robbins of The Athletic and other media members that he’s actually feeling better than he did before the stoppage of play in March. “Right now I actually feel really good,” he said. “I think it’s just a matter of getting those reps up in a game.”

Fultz arrived at the Orlando campus late due to a personal matter and didn’t start practicing until July 17, but played in the Magic’s scrimmage against the Nuggets on Monday.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Magic have limited the minutes of big man Mohamed Bamba after he added 20 pounds to his frame during the shutdown, according to Chris Hays of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando coach Steve Clifford wants to make sure Bamba can play at a high level while carrying the extra weight but Bamba is irritated by the plan. “It is difficult to not be frustrated because at the end of the day, you want to go out there and be able to play,” he said.
  • The Wizards’ Isaac Bonga‘s $1.66MM salary for next season is not guaranteed but he’s making a strong impression during scrimmages in Orlando, according to NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes“He impacts the game because of his enthusiasm and his effort and just his spirit,” coach Scott Brooks said of the young big. “Everyone wants to play with him because he just plays so hard. He makes the right plays. He’s not thirsty out there.”
  • Hornets coach James Borrego wants players who have more than just talent, as he explained to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Borrego values players who are passionate and hungry. “Players who care about their team, care about their teammates. Who want to get better, have a curiosity (how) to get better,” he said. “Have an appetite to want to get better. To have an appetite to be part of something bigger than themselves.”

Hornets Notes: Offseason, Washington, Monk, Hernangomez

The Hornets lobbied to be included in the NBA’s restart this summer and are “very disappointed” not to be part of it, president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak said on Tuesday, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. However, Kupchak and head coach James Borrego accepted the league’s decision and will be satisfied with an opportunity to conduct team activities this summer.

As Bonnell details, Borrego thinks it would make sense for the bottom eight teams not invited to Orlando to be permitted to practice while the other 22 clubs are playing at Disney in August.

“The amount of time they’re spending with their teams and their players as a unit, we believe we should have the same. That would level the playing field a little bit more,” Borrego said. “For me, it’s more about the time that we have (to work with players and to scrimmage) — that it syncs with what (other teams are) getting in Orlando — and also the live play, which we don’t get a lot in the summer.”

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • Also within that Bonnell article linked above: Borrego said he thought P.J. Washington should be on this season’s All-Rookie First Team, and Kupchak said that the Hornets are still in talent-acquisition mode rather than focusing on fit. “At some point, we’ll hopefully be that advanced, to sit down and talk about, ‘Hey, we’ve got five or six guys with great talent, now how do they fit together?'” Kupchak said, according to Bonnell. “I don’t think we’re there right now.”
  • In a separate article for The Observer, Bonnell digs into whether the Hornets have any realistic paths to acquiring a star player.
  • Now that Malik Monk has been reinstated following his drug suspension, he’s set to enter a big year in 2020/21. As Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer writes, the Hornets may have to move on from Monk next year if he doesn’t take a noticeable step forward after three up-and-down seasons.
  • Willy Hernangomez will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, but he said today that he plans to remain in Charlotte for most or all of the summer, tweets Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Hernangomez added that he’d “love” to re-sign with the Hornets if possible.I love Charlotte, I love the group of guys we have,” he said, per Bonnell (Twitter links). “I want to be part of the young core that we have.”

Southeast Notes: Borrego, Adebayo, Heat, Wizards

Hornets head coach James Borrego has developed a notable recruiting pitch for impending free agents this summer, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes.

Charlotte is slated to have a respectable amount of salary-cap space after the season, allowing the team to consider multiple talents that are set to reach the open market.

“I feel like basically every guy we’ve drafted has shown some real promise for us,” Borrego explained this past week, as relayed by Bonnell. “What that leads into is what an attractive place this could be for free agents moving forward.”

The Hornets are establishing a proven track record of developing talent, currently sporting a young core that consists of Devonte’ Graham, Miles Bridges, P.J. Washington, and more. Charlotte showed flashes of potential with its young nucleus prior to the NBA’s hiatus. However, the team was just 23-42 on the season, the sixth-worst record in the East.

“Absolutely!” Borrego said when asked if his team’s pitch could attract free agents this summer. “Players are looking at (salary) numbers and years — that’s a major factor — but they want to go to a place where they can maximize growth and development. We’re putting a good body of work together to show that.”

Here are some other notes from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat center Bam Adebayo chimed in on social media amidst the NBA’s hiatus, as relayed by Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. Adebayo understandably expressed boredom with the league being suspended indefinitely. The 22-year-old has averaged 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 65 contests on the season.
  • Ira Winderman examines the week that could’ve been for the Heat in a separate article for the Sun Sentinel, including the rematch between Jimmy Butler and T.J. Warren on March 20. Miami has enjoyed a successful season to date, owning the fourth-best record in the East at 41-24.
  • Chris Miller of NBC Sports Washington takes a look at what different Wizards players are doing during the NBA’s hiatus. As Miller notes, many players are enjoying personal activities such as playing video games, watching movies, or watching TV shows.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Bertans, Adebayo, Young

Hornets head coach James Borrego has a unique way of keeping rookie forwards Caleb Martin and Jalen McDaniels galvanized to give maximum effort in Charlotte, as Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer relays. If their play is not to the level of their teammates, they will be sent down to develop with the team’s G League affiliate the Greensboro Swam.

“It’s their job to put pressure on me to keep them here,” Borrego said. “For them to stay in our program right now, there is a level of accountability, there is a level of professionalism they need to carry themselves with.” Small forward Martin went undrafted out of Nevada, while power forward McDaniels was selected by the Hornets with the No. 52 pick out of San Diego State.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Wizards big man Davis Bertans, an unrestricted free agent in 2020, credits coach Scott Brooks with letting him develop his shooting stroke, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News.
  • Newly-minted Heat All-Star Bam Adebayo was confident coming into the season that he could make the All-Star team if he hit certain statistical benchmarks and his team was winning, according to Khobi Price of the Miami Sun-Sentinel. His goal was averaging 16 PPG, 10 RPG and 5 APG in a winning environment. He is currently averaging 15.8 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists for the 35-19 Heat, alongside fellow All-Star Jimmy Butler“I guess my prediction was right,” Adebayo said during media availability Saturday.
  • To take the leap from All-Star to MVP, second year Hawks point guard Trae Young must evolve on defense, according to Scott Gleeson of USA Today.