Charlotte Hornets fire head coach James Borrego

James Borrego, Charlotte Hornets (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)
James Borrego, Charlotte Hornets (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) /
James Borrego, Charlotte Hornets (Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports)
James Borrego, Charlotte Hornets (Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Charlotte Hornets have decided to part ways with head coach James Borrego, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Borrego was 138-163 in his four seasons with the Hornets, most recently leading Charlotte to a 43-39 record this past season, which was the team’s first winning record since 2015-16.

Borrego was brought in to lead the rebuild of the Hornets franchise. A team that had reached its cap with former star guard Kemba Walker and was heading into a major youth movement. Borrego and the Hornets would prioritize player development in an attempt to build through the draft and get production from in-house.

It’s safe to say he succeeded in this regard. The team has seen great strides from key members of the young core including LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges, P.J. Washington, Cody Martin, and Jalen McDaniels. Devonte’ Graham played well enough under Borrego that they were able to flip him, a former second-round pick, to the New Orleans Pelicans for a first-round pick this year.

Over the past three seasons, the team has gone from 23 wins to 43, reaching the NBA Play-In tournament in back-to-back seasons.

While player development and the increase of wins have been a success, it hasn’t all been good during the Borrego regime. His teams were blown out in the two play-in appearances (this season was somehow worse than last season). Defense, whether it’s player personnel or his scheme, has not worked at all. His rotations can be a bit sketchy at times, with star players sitting a tad bit too long during crucial moments. Lastly, this past season, whether necessary or not, the team’s two first-round picks, James Bouknight and Kai Jones, spent the majority of their year developing with the Greensboro Swarm and saw very little time with the Hornets roster.

Mitch Kupchak and the rest of the front office likely feel that they have now reached their cap with Borrego at the helm. After two embarrassing Play-In losses, it’s fair. The team needs to be re-tooled and that will start at the top with a new head coach leading the charge.

The Hornets are pivoting from player development to winning now.

A couple of candidates off the top of my mind that I would like to see Charlotte pursue are Milwaukee’s Darvin Ham, Golden State’s Kenny Atkinson, the Clippers Jay Larranaga, and Philadelphia’s Sam Cassell.

Next. Orlando Magic players to target in free agency. dark