Although the job ultimately went to Ime Udoka, former Hornets head coach James Borrego (2018-22) made a strong impression on the Houston Rockets in their recent search for the lead role.
Borrego, who is known for his offensive acumen, could be an interesting pairing with the defensive minded Udoka. Moreover, the two already have a working relationship from their days on the staff of legendary head coach Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs.
So, could Charlotte’s recent head coach be part of the staff of assistants for Udoka with the Rockets? Per veteran NBA scribe Marc Stein, Houston is believed to have interest. He reports:
I reported Sunday about Dallas’ interest in hiring James Borrego to join Jason Kidd’s staff, but sources say he was already being pursued by the New Orleans Pelicans before the Mavericks had an opening … with other teams (presumed to be Houston and Brooklyn) also said to be circling.
Stein did not elaborate on what Borrego’s preference would potentially be, as it pertains to those four franchises. The working relationship he has with each coach and financial offers from each team’s ownership group could play a large role, among many factors.
Other potential candidates for Udoka’s staff in Houston are believed to include Boston’s Ben Sullivan and a pair of internal candidates in John Lucas and Mahmoud Abdelfattah, who each coached on the staff of former Rockets head coach Stephen Silas.
There is no set timetable for Udoka to name his full staff for the 2023-24 season. However, an assistant typically leads Houston’s squad at the NBA Summer League, and practices for those begin shortly after the NBA’s draft night. This year, the draft is on June 22, so expect at least some members of Udoka’s staff to be known by then.
Report: John Lucas, Mahmoud Abdelfettah, Boston’s Ben Sullivan among assistant candidates
Citing lessons from Gregg Popovich, new Rockets coach Ime Udoka focused on relationships
Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire