Hornets fire coach James Borrego after four seasons

The move came just one week after Charlotte’s Play-In loss in Atlanta

Charlotte Hornets head coach James Borrego calls a play during an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards on Sunday, April 10, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones)

CHARLOTTE — There will be a new coach at the helm of the Charlotte Hornets next season. The Hornets fired coach James Borrego on Friday after four seasons, the team confirmed after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news earlier in the day.

“I want to thank JB for his hard work and commitment during these past four seasons,” Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak said in an official statement. “Beyond his work as a coach, he is a tremendous person. I wish him and his family the best in the future. These decisions are always difficult. Having said that, we have a talented, young core of players which has me very excited about the future of the Hornets. We will begin the search for our new head coach immediately.”

The front office’s decision to move on from Borrego, 44, comes just over one week after his fourth season with the team wrapped up in a 132-103 Play-In Tournament loss to the Atlanta Hawks. 

While Borrego’s team took a step forward in his fourth season, elevating its win total by 10 games over the previous season, the Hornets have lost their Play-In game appearances in the last two years by a combined 56 points. 

During his tenure in Charlotte, Borrego compiled a 138-163 record, including 43-39 this past season — the best of his four years with the franchise.

Borrego had previously worked as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Hornets and Orlando Magic. Additionally, he spent 30 games as the interim head coach for the Magic in 2015.

Although the Hornets had signed Borrego to a multiyear contract extension in August 2021, the performance of the team was not enough for the front office to give him another season. 

The franchise has built a roster led by LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges and Terry Rozier suring Borrego’s tenure in Charlotte. At the same time, Hornets owner Michael Jordan and Kupchak did little to address the center position or lack of defense, exposing a weak spot in the team’s approach that has contributed to a six-year playoff drought. 

Charlotte’s next coach will be its 12th in franchise history.