Cavs Meeting With Potential Lakers Frontrunner James Borrego

James Borrego is a hot item for the two NBA teams with coaching openings — and that would be the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers.James Borrego, Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA

Borrego is meeting with the Cavs on Tuesday, league sources told Hoops Wire. They added that he could be the frontrunner in both Cleveland and LA. How’s that for getting your pick?

But there’s a sense that Borrego may have been turned off by the Lakers’ sudden flirtations with UConn coach Dan Hurley, a courting that ended up going nowhere, with Hurley deciding to stay in the college game.

If that’s true, then Borrego may be more apt to take the Cleveland job. (If offered, of course.)

For now, Borrego is an assistant coach under Willie Green with the New Orleans Pelicans, run by former Cavs GM David Griffin. So Borrego comes highly recommended.

Before that, he coached the Charlotte Hornets for four seasons, finishing 148-183 with a vastly undermanned roster. Nonetheless, the Hornets won 10 more games in each of Borrego’s final three seasons — from 23 in 2019-20 to 33 to 43.

As for the Lakers, it’s been said that they are turning their coaching search back to former NBA shooting guard JJ Redick, now of ESPN, and Borrego. They could potentially add another big name in the mix, just because they’re the Lakers. But they have spoken with Borrego several times and word is, they really like him.

Meanwhile, the Cavs will also interview Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson this week, per Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Atkinson is the former head coach of the Brooklyn Nets and is also said to be high on the Cavs’ list of candidates.

Along with Atkinson and Borrego, the Cavaliers have been connected to Terry Stotts, David Adelman, Chris Quinn, Johnnie Bryant, Micah Nori, Dave Joerger, Alex Jensen and Steve Hetzel.

Cleveland fired JB Bickerstaff, who went 170-159 in the regular season and 6-11 in the playoffs. The Cavaliers defeated the Orlando Magic in the first round of this year’s playoffs but lost to the Boston Celtics in the second round.

An NBA executive told Hoops Wire that the Cavs should hire Bryant as their next head coach to “appease” star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell. Bryant worked closely with Mitchell on the Utah Jazz. The two have a very close relationship. 

“The Cavs fired (Bickerstaff) because Donovan didn’t like playing for him,” the NBA exec said. “This coaching search shouldn’t be that difficult for Cleveland. Everything should be about keeping Donovan happy. They should hire Johnnie to appease him. Those two are really close. Johnnie knows what Donovan likes and doesn’t like on both sides (of the court).”

Mitchell can sign a four-year, $208 million extension this offseason. He is under contract for next season and has a $37 million player option for 2025-26.

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