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Hornets name James Borrego coach

Reuters

James Borrego has been hired as the new head coach of the Charlotte Hornets.

The sides agreed to a three-year deal with a team option in the fourth year, according to multiple reports on Thursday.

Borrego, 40, spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs and had a previous stint (2003-10) in the same role under Gregg Popovich. Borrego becomes the 11th head coach in franchise history.

“We are thrilled to have James join our franchise,” Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “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. I look forward to working with him in the years to come.”

Borrego met with Hornets owner Michael Jordan over the weekend after being a finalist for the job with Boston Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga. Borrego made a strong impression on Kupchak, according to ESPN.

Borrego has 15 total seasons as an assistant coach in the NBA under his belt. He spent two seasons as an assistant with the then-New Orleans Hornets (2010-12) and three with the Orlando Magic (2012-15).

“I’m very excited to serve as the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets,” Borrego said Thursday in a statement distributed by the Hornets. “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.”

Borrego was Orlando’s interim head coach after Jacque Vaughn was fired during the 2014-15 campaign, going 10-20 for a team that finished 25-57 overall.

Borrego interviewed for head coach openings with the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks earlier this year and was expected to interview for the Milwaukee Bucks’ vacancy. He turned down an offer from the University of New Mexico, in his home state, last year with hopes of pursuing a head job in the NBA.

The Hornets have finished 36-46 and missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons, prompting the firing of coach Steve Clifford.