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Charlotte Hornets President of Basketball Operations & General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced today the team has named James Borrego head coach. Borrego becomes the 11th head coach in franchise history.

“We are thrilled to have James join our franchise,” said Kupchak. “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, 40, joins the Hornets after spending the last three seasons as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs under Head Coach Gregg Popovich.

The Albuquerque, New Mexico, native began his NBA career as an assistant video coordinator with San Antonio during the 2003-04 season. Borrego spent seven seasons with the Spurs, ascending to the role of assistant coach. In 2010, he left San Antonio for New Orleans where he served two seasons as an assistant coach (2010-12) under Monty Williams. Borrego then joined Jacque Vaughn’s staff with the Orlando Magic and served three seasons under Vaughn from 2012-15. Borrego gained his initial head coaching experience when he served as Orlando’s interim head coach for the final 30 games of the 2014-15 campaign after Vaughn was dismissed. He returned to the Spurs as an assistant coach in 2015.

“I’m very excited to serve as the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets,” said Borrego. “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.”

In his 15 seasons in the NBA, Borrego has been a part of staffs that have led teams to the playoffs 11 different times in his stints in San Antonio and New Orleans. As a member of the Spurs, Borrego has been a part of two NBA Championship teams (2005 and 2007) and has been to four Western Conference Finals.

Prior to his coaching experience in the NBA, Borrego served two seasons (2001-03) as an assistant coach at the University of San Diego, his alma mater. Additionally, Borrego played three seasons collegiately for the Toreros and was named to the West Coast Conference All-Academic Team as a senior in 2000-01.

The general rule is, any coach who works as an assistant to Gregg Popovich is probably a good coach. And usually winds up getting offers from other teams fairly quickly. Well, the Hornets have a new GM, and need a new head coach. Here’s the Charlotte Observer with the latest:

The Charlotte Hornets will act quickly to interview San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina for their head-coaching opening, as soon as the Spurs season is complete.

A source familiar the situation said Messina will interview as early as the middle of next week, if the Spurs are eliminated by the Golden State Warriors by then. Ettore coached the Spurs in Thursday’s loss to the Warriors, as head coach Gregg Popovich mourned the death of his wife, Erin.

The Spurs trail the best-of-7 series 3-0. Game 4 is Sunday in San Antonio. A possible Game 5 is Tuesday in Oakland, Calif. It’s yet to be determined when Popovich would rejoin the team.

Full article

Hornets fire coach Steve Clifford

Charlotte Hornets President of Basketball Operations & General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced today that the team has relieved Steve Clifford of his head coaching duties.

“I want to thank Coach Clifford for his contributions to the Hornets,” said Kupchak. “I know he has worked incredibly hard on behalf of the organization and we wish him the best moving forward. The search for a new coach will begin immediately.”

Clifford was named Charlotte head coach on May 29, 2013. He finished with a regular-season record of 196-214 (.478 winning percentage). Charlotte qualified for the NBA Playoffs in 2013 and 2016. The Hornets finished the 2017-18 campaign with a 36-46 record.

Per the Charlotte Observer, “Clifford acknowledged Wednesday that this season’s Hornets failed to improve over the course of the season, as his previous teams did, and that the group lacked the “spirit” of previous teams on his watch. Clifford said he had a say in every player acquisition that assembled this roster, so he took responsibility for its failure.”

More from the Observer: “Clifford’s job performance was complicated this season by a health crisis: He missed 5 ½ weeks of the season treating severe headaches related to sleep deprivation. Working with a neurologist, Clifford has retrained himself to sleep at least 6 ½ hours a night; previously he wasn’t getting more than five hours of sleep.”

Charlotte Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan announced today that the team has named Mitch Kupchak President of Basketball Operations & General Manager.

Kupchak, who brings more than 30 years of NBA front office experience to Charlotte, including 17 seasons as an NBA General Manager, will be responsible for leading the organization’s day-to-day basketball operations.

“In every role and in every stop during his tenure in the NBA, Mitch Kupchak has brought the highest levels of success to his teams. He’s a proven winner,” Jordan said. “Having won championships as both a player and an executive, we have confidence that Mitch is the right person to lead our basketball operations, build a winning culture and bring sustained success to our organization, for our fans and for the city of Charlotte.”

“I’m excited to join the Hornets organization and I want to thank Michael for this opportunity,” said Kupchak. “I am well aware of the passion for basketball in Charlotte and throughout the entire state of North Carolina‎, and I am confident that we can build the Hornets into a successful team that our great fans can be proud of.”

Kupchak joins the Hornets after a very distinguished and successful career as a front office executive and player with the Los Angeles Lakers. He began working in the team’s front office in 1986 under two NBA Hall-of-Famers: legendary NBA executive Jerry West and Bill Sharman, the first person to win a championship as a player, coach and executive. Kupchak was named general manager in 2000, serving in that capacity for 17 seasons. During Kupchak’s tenure as general manager, the Lakers won four NBA Championships and six Western Conference Championships, posting a 747-607 (.552) regular-season record and winning 63 percent (111-66) of their postseason contests.

Dwight Howard suspended due to techs

Charlotte Hornets center Dwight Howard has been suspended one game without pay for receiving his 16th technical foul of the 2017-18 season, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

Under NBA rules, a player or coach is automatically suspended without pay for one game once he receives his 16th technical foul during a regular season. For every two additional technical fouls received during that regular season, the player or coach will be automatically suspended without pay for an additional game.

Howard received his most recent technical foul with 10:48 remaining in the third quarter of the Hornets’ 111-105 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on March 21 at Barclays Center. Howard will serve his suspension March 22 when the Hornets play host to the Memphis Grizzlies at Spectrum Center.

Michael Carter-Williams undergoes season-ending shoulder surgery

Charlotte Hornets guard Michael Carter-Williams has undergone surgery to address a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

Carter-Williams sustained the injury at Toronto on March 4 and will miss the remainder of the season.

In his first season with the Hornets, Carter-Williams averaged 4.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 16.1 minutes per game in 52 contests. In 287 career games, he has averaged 11.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

Michael Carter-Williams suffers season-ending shoulder injury

Hornets guard Michael Carter-Williams has suffered a posterior labral tear in his left shoulder. The injury was confirmed after Carter-Williams underwent an MRI and was examined by Hornets team orthopedist Dr. Marc Cook of Novant Health. The injury occurred with 4:05 left in the second quarter of Charlotte’s game at Toronto on March 4.

Carter-Williams will undergo surgery to address the injury and will miss the remainder of the season.

In his first season with the Hornets, Carter-Williams has appeared in 52 games and is averaging 4.6 points and 2.7 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per game. In 287 career games, he has averaged 11.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

On the Hornets front office job opening

The Hornets need a new GM. Perks include a roster that definitely still needs to make changes in the coming seasons for the team to become seriously competitive, and the chance to hang with team owner Michael Jordan once in a while. Here’s theCharlotte Observer with the latest:

While former Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is prominent in chatter about the Charlotte Hornets’ front office opening, he won’t be the only candidate.

Another established name with interest is Detroit Pistons general manager Jeff Bower.

Bower is No. 2 in the Pistons’ front office, working for Stan Van Gundy, who runs the basketball operation as coach and team president. According to a source familiar with the situation, Bower and Van Gundy are both under contract with the Pistons through the end of this season.

That same source said Bower, 56, would definitely be interested in the Hornets’ opening. Bower worked in Charlotte previously, in the original Hornets’ front office.

Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker has been named by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to replace injured New York Knicks forward/center Kristaps Porzingis on Team LeBron in the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, which will be played on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Staples Center in Los Angeles (8 p.m. ET; TNT/ESPN Radio).

In addition, 2018 NBA All-Star Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons will replace Porzingis in the Skills Challenge.

Walker becomes an NBA All-Star for the second time, having made his All-Star Game debut last year in New Orleans. The seven-year veteran is averaging 22.6 points, 5.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds in 51 games, joining new All-Star teammate LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers as the only Eastern Conference players who are producing that many points and assists per game.

The 6-1 Walker has scored at least 40 points in a game three times this season, one of eight NBA players to do so. He also ranks ninth in the NBA in three-pointers made with 141. On Feb. 4, Walker became the Hornets’ all-time leader in three-pointers made, passing Dell Curry’s record of 929.

Since Jan. 1, Walker has led Charlotte to a 10-7 record while posting the third-highest scoring average in the Eastern Conference (24.6 ppg) to go with an increase in assists (6.2 apg). For the season, the Hornets are 17.4 points per 100 possessions better when Walker is on the court than when he is off the court, the highest mark among all qualifying NBA players, according to NBA.com/Stats.

Porzingis will not play in the NBA All-Star Game or defend his title in the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge after sustaining a torn ACL in his left knee in a game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 6. A first-time NBA All-Star selection in his third season, Porzingis is averaging 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and a league-leading 2.40 blocked shots in 48 games. He was selected by NBA head coaches as an All-Star reserve and drafted to Team LeBron by James.

According to NBA rules, when an All-Star is unable to participate, the commissioner shall choose a replacement from the same conference as the player who is being replaced. Porzingis and Walker both play for Eastern Conference teams.

Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford has been medically cleared to return to coaching the team on a full-time basis.

Clifford will officially re-join the team starting with practice on Tuesday, Jan. 16, before returning to the sidelines on Wednesday, Jan. 17, vs. the Washington Wizards.

He has been away from the team since Dec. 6 to address his health. Hornets Associate Head Coach Stephen Silas served as the team’s acting head coach while Clifford was out.

Cody Zeller out after knee surgery

Cody Zeller out after knee surgery

Hornets center Cody Zeller had arthroscopic surgery in his left knee today. The team didn’t estimate a return date for him, so for now he’ll be listed as Out Indefinitely.

The injury occurred in the third quarter in the team’s December 6 game against the Warriors.

Zeller this season is averaging 7.2 points and 5.5 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game.

Overall during his 298 games with Charlotte, Zeller has averaged 8.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per outing.

The Hornets are just 10-16 this season, which is the 13th best record in the Eastern conference. They were expected to be better than this.

The team is led in scoring by Kemba Walker (22.5 ppg), Dwight Howard (16.0 ppg), Jeremy Lamb (14.8), Frank Kaminsky (10.5 ppg) and Nicolas Batum (10.1 ppg).

The Hornets play the Rockets in Houston Wednesday night.

Hornets begin stretch of home games

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The Hornets are just 8-13 so far this season, which is the 12th best record in the Eastern conference. The upcoming week will provide an interesting variety tests at home which may help determine which direction they’re headed. Here’s the Charlotte Observer reporting the latest:

This is a big week for the Hornets, with four consecutive home games (Magic, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers) over six days. The Hornets have been terrible on the road this season (1-10), but are 7-3 at Spectrum Center.

Ten of the Hornets’ next 13 games are in Charlotte. What has to change to get this team right?

“We’ve got to change our approach. We have to have carryover from (what’s instructed in) shootarounds to the games,” Walker said. “Coach (Steve Clifford) and the staff give us a great game plan each and every night to execute, and we haven’t been doing that.

Full article

Nic Batum set to return for Hornets

The Hornets are about to get a super versatile piece of their roster back in the form of Nic Batum, who reportedly may return as early as tomorrow. Here is the Charlotte Observer reporting:

Barring a “drastic” and unexpected setback, Nic Batum will play — and start — Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Charlotte Hornets’ nationally-televised home game Wednesday.

That was coach Steve Clifford’s statement, after Batum practiced for a third consecutive day. He has missed the Hornets’ first 11 regular-season games and most of the preseason, after he tore a ligament in his left elbow Oct. 4. Playing Wednesday (8 p.m., ESPN) would mean Batum returns at the minimum of the projected six to eight weeks he’d miss with the injury.

Full article

Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has exercised its fourth-year option on forward Frank Kaminsky.

“We’re happy to have Frank as a part of what we’re developing here in Charlotte,” Cho said. “His work ethic and commitment to improvement are showing early returns this season and we look forward to what the future holds for Frank.”

The 7-0 Wisconsin product is in his third NBA season after appearing in 156 games (19 starts) in his first two seasons in Charlotte. In five games this season, Kaminsky is averaging 14.2 points per game on 45.6% shooting, a mark good for sixth in the NBA in bench scoring. He holds career averages of 9.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 23.7 minutes per game in 161 contests. Kaminsky was selected by the Hornets ninth overall in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft.

Julyan Stone injured, out 4-6 weeks

Julyan Stone injured, out 4-6 weeks

Charlotte Hornets guard Julyan Stone has suffered a Grade 2 strain of his left hamstring. The injury occurred in practice on Sunday, Oct. 22 and he did not travel with the team to Milwaukee.

Stone is listed as out for tonight’s game against the Bucks and his expected recovery time is estimated at four to six weeks. Further updates on his status will be provided when available.

Stone, a 6-6 guard and fourth-year player out of Texas-El Paso, appeared in the Hornets first two games and averaged 3.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 9.0 minutes per game. For his career, he has averaged 1.4 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 49 games with the Denver Nuggets, Toronto Raptors and Hornets. Stone signed with Charlotte as a free agent on Aug. 23, 2017 after playing with Reyer Venezia Mestre of the Lega Basket Serie A in Italy.

Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has waived Terry Henderson, Isaiah Hicks, Luke Petrasek and T.J. Williams.

Henderson, a 6-4 guard, spent his final two seasons at North Carolina State after transferring from West Virginia. The Raleigh, N.C. native appeared in two exhibition games for the Hornets totaling eight points, four rebounds and two assists in 38.5 minutes of play.

Hicks, a 6-9 forward from North Carolina, appeared in 151 career games, helping the Tar Heels win the 2017 NCAA National Championship. He appeared in one exhibition game for the Hornets recording two minutes of play.

Petrasek, a 6-10 forward from Columbia University, earned Second Team All-Ivy League Honors during the 2016-17 season. The four-year college player did not appear in any preseason games with Charlotte.

Williams, a 6-4 guard from Northeastern, played in 151 career games with the Huskies, and averaged a team-high and CAA-leading 21.4 points per game during his senior season in 2016-17. He appeared in three exhibition games with the Charlotte Hornets during the preseason averaging 1.3 points, 0.7 rebounds and 0.7 steals in 10.1 minutes per game.

The Hornets roster now stands at 16 players, which includes the two players that have signed two-way contracts.

Nic Batum out with elbow injury

Charlotte Hornets guard/forward Nicolas Batum underwent a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) exam today which revealed a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. The injury occurred with 11:26 remaining in the first quarter of Charlotte’s preseason road contest against the Detroit Pistons last night. Treatment options are still being evaluated, but Batum is expected to miss a minimum of six to eight weeks.

According to the Charlotte Observer, “Batum signed a five-year, $120 million contract with the Hornets in July 2016. He is scheduled to make nearly $21 million this season. He averaged 15.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.9 assists last season, but shot poorly (.403 from the field and .333 from 3-point range).”

The 6-8 veteran swingman from France has averaged new career highs in points in each of his first two seasons in Charlotte. During the 2016-17 season, Batum totaled 1,164 points, 481 rebounds and 455 assists, becoming the first Charlotte player to score over 1,000 points, grab 450 rebounds and hand out over 450 assists in a single season. After a seven-year stint with Portland, Batum has averaged 15.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 34.5 minutes per game over the course of 144 games the last two seasons with the Hornets.

More from the Observer: “With Batum out, Hornets coach Steve Clifford told the Observer late Thursday afternoon he plans to turn to Jeremy Lamb as a starter.”

The Charlotte Hornets have promoted Stephen Silas to associate head coach and have hired Eddie Jordan as an assistant coach.

The team also made the following announcements regarding basketball operations personnel: Rick Higgins has been promoted to coaching assistant/video coordinator, Cam Twiss has been promoted to General Manager of the team’s G League affiliate the Greensboro Swarm, David Kaplan has been promoted to manager of basketball analytics, Adam Filippi has transitioned to collegiate scouting and Jakub Kudlacek has been hired as an international scout.

Silas is in his eighth season on the Charlotte bench and 17th in the NBA, coming to Charlotte after spending the previous four and a half seasons as an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors. Prior to joining the Warriors, Silas served as an advance scout for the Washington Wizards during the 2005-06 season.

Silas also spent five seasons as an assistant coach under his father, Paul Silas, with the original Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets (2000-03) and Cleveland Cavaliers (2003-05). Silas, who joined the original Hornets in the summer of 1999 as an advance and college scout, was promoted to assistant coach on June 5, 2000, making him the youngest assistant in the NBA at that time at 27 years old.

The Boston-native graduated from Brown University in 1996, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in sociology and management and played four seasons for the Bears basketball team. Upon graduation, Silas spent three years as the assistant executive director of the National Basketball Retired Players Association in Providence, Rhode Island.

Jordan played seven seasons in the NBA from 1977-84 with four different teams, helping the Lakers to an NBA Championship during the 1981-82 season. He began his coaching career as an assistant in the college ranks with Boston College (1986-88) and Rutgers University (1988-91), before returning to the NBA as an assistant coach with the Sacramento Kings from 1992-97. Jordan has been a head coach with three NBA teams: the Kings (1997-98), the Washington Wizards (2003-08) and Philadelphia 76ers (2009-10). Most recently, he was the head coach at his alma mater, Rutgers University (2013-16).

The Washington, D.C. native has additional coaching experience as the lead assistant with the New Jersey Nets (1999-03) and Los Angeles Lakers (2012-13), where he coached alongside current Hornets Head Coach Steve Clifford. While with the Nets, Jordan helped guide the team to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003.

Higgins’ promotion to coaching assistant/video coordinator comes after serving as the team’s video scout for the past four seasons. In his expanded role, Higgins will assist with game planning, scouting reports and player workouts in addition to his role in the video department.

Twiss has been promoted to General Manager of the Greensboro Swarm after serving as the Swarm’s Director of Basketball Operations for the G League affiliate’s inaugural season. Twiss will manage the Swarm’s roster, advise on G League and college personnel and assist with the integration between the Hornets and its G-League team.

Filippi, who previously scouted internationally, is now focused on collegiate scouting. Entering his seventh season in Charlotte, Filippi has more than 20 years of scouting experience. He previously worked for the Los Angeles Lakers before joining the Hornets.

Kudlacek, a native of the Czech Republic, played professionally in Europe for seven seasons and was a member of the Czech national team. Last season, he served as an international scout for the Los Angeles Clippers.

In his new role, Kaplan will provide basketball analytics to the coaching staff and front office. Previously, he served as a quantitative analyst for the Hornets.

Hornets unveil Classic edition uniforms

The Charlotte Hornets have unveiled their Classic edition uniforms for the 2017-18 season, bringing back the design worn by the original Charlotte Hornets from their inception in 1988 through 1997. Like the previously released white Association and teal Icon editions, the uniform features the logo of Nike’s Jordan Brand. The Hornets – the only team in U.S. professional sports to have the iconic Jumpman logo on its uniforms – will feature five different uniforms in their 2017-18 uniform collection.

“Since we brought the Hornets name back in 2014, our fans have practically been begging for us to wear a version of the original Hornets uniform,” said Hornets President & COO Fred Whitfield. “We could not be more excited to give them what they want and to see the historic pinstriped, teal Charlotte uniform back on an NBA court.”

Based on the uniform worn during the Hornets’ first decade, the teal jersey includes the familiar crossover v-neck and mutli-colored pinstripes in royal blue, light blue, purple and green. The shorts feature the classic Hornets logo on the waist and the identical royal blue, teal and white trim as the original. The Hornets will wear the Classic edition uniforms for three home games during the 2017-18 season: November 15 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, December 23 against the Milwaukee Bucks and January 13 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Hornets sign Julyan Stone

Hornets sign Julyan Stone

The Charlotte Hornets signed guard Julyan Stone today.

Stone (6-6, 200) has appeared in 47 career NBA games (two starts) over three seasons with Denver (2011-13) and Toronto (2013-14), averaging 1.3 points, 1.1 assists and 1.0 rebounds in 7.0 minutes per contest. He most recently joins Charlotte after a stint with Reyer Venezia Mestre of the Lega Basket Serie A in Italy, appearing in 26 games and helping the squad to a 2017 Serie A Championship. Prior to his time with Reyer Venezia Mestre, Stone played with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA G League last season, seeing action in 33 games (31 starts), averaging 7.9 points, 8.6 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 34.7 minutes per contest.

The 28-year-old has additional playing experience with Royal Hali Gazientep (2015-16) of the Turkish Basketball Super League, a first stretch with Reyer Venezia Mestre (2014-15) and G League experience with the Iowa Energy (2013) and Idaho Stampede (2012).

Stone was a four-year collegiate player at the University of Texas-El Paso (2007-11), earning 2010-11 All-Conference USA Second Team honors following his senior season, where he averaged 8.5 points, 7.5 boards, 5.3 assists and 1.5 steals in 36.5 minutes per contest.

Stone will wear No. 32 for the Hornets.

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