CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Michael Jordan has his guy.
The Hornets owner has finalized a deal to hire San Antonio Spurs assistant coach James Borrego as Charlotte’s next head coach, according to people familiar with the situation.
The people spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because the Hornets haven’t officially announced the hiring.
A news conference is expected in the next few days.
The 40-year Borrego has spent 15 years an NBA assistant coach, 10 of those with San Antonio under Gregg Popovich. He has been a part of two NBA championship teams – in 2005 and 2007. He also was an assistant with the New Orleans Hornets, well before the team moved back to Charlotte.
This will be his first head coaching job.
However, he did serve as an interim coach with the Orlando Magic late in 2015-16 season after Jacque Vaughn was fired.
The Hornets are in the midst of a major change in the organization.
Jordan fired general manager Rich Cho midway through last season and hired Mitch Kupchak to replace him in April. Kupchak fried Steve Clifford as head coach a few days later.
Under Clifford, the Hornets went to the playoffs just twice in five seasons and failed to win a playoff series.
Among the other NBA assistant coaches to interview for the position were Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga, Raptors assistant Nick Nurse, Spurs assistants Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka, and Blazers assistant David Vanterpol. Former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale also interviewed, but was later hired by the New York Knicks.
Borrego, Larranaga and Nurse were considered the three finalists for the job.
Now the big question becomes whether the Hornets will shake up their roster this offseason.
If the Hornets chose to rebuild, two-time All-Star guard Kemba Walker is easily the most tradable option because of his salary and production. The team also includes Dwight Howard, Nic Batum, Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
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