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NBA - US Sports: What next for Hornets and Jazz?

21 June 2022 08:02:31 EST
The Hornets and the Jazz are both seeking new head coaches for next season

Charlotte Hornets and Utah Jazz are both on the hunt for new coaches ahead of the 2022/23 NBA season and their respective searches don't look particularly straightforward.

James Borrego failed to reach the play-offs in each of his four seasons in charge of Charlotte and they opted to call time on his tenure at the end of the season.

The Jazz are perhaps in a trickier position, as Quin Snyder decided to leave the franchise after an eight-year stint in charge.

Qualifying for the play-offs will be the minimum target for whoever takes charge of both teams and Utah are currently rated at 101.00 to win the NBA Championship outright, while Charlotte are on offer at 101.00.

Why did the Hornets sack Borrego?

Borrego had two spells working as assistant coach for Gregg Popovich at San Antonio Spurs before he was handed his first head coaching role in the NBA in 2018 by the Hornets.

The 44-year-old worked alongside Popovich when the Spurs won the championship in 2005 and 2007, and he was tasked with turning the Hornets into a team who could regularly secure a spot in the post-season.

It is probably fair to say that the Hornets were on an upward trajectory under Borrego - having improved their win total by 10 in each of the past two seasons - but their progress clearly wasn't quick enough.

Charlotte finished ninth in Borrego's first two seasons in charge - when the top eight teams in each conference reached the play-offs - and 10th in his final two, with the Hornets eliminated from post-season contention in the play-in tournament in both of those campaigns.

Having failed to secure post-season action with a team that included LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges, Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward, the team made the decision to call time on Borrego's time in charge.

Why did Snyder leave the Jazz?

Snyder was in charge of Utah for eight seasons and after failing to reach the playoffs in his first two campaigns in charge he turned the Jazz into a force in the Western Conference.

Snyder finished with a regular season record of 372-264 during his time with the Jazz, and they claimed a top six seed in each of the last seasons - taking the top seed in the 2022/21 campaign.

However, Utah failed to make any real impact in the play-offs under Snyder and they never managed to progress beyond the conference semi-finals.

Snyder, who was suggested as a possible successor to Frank Vogel at Los Angeles Lakers before they hired Darvin Ham, made the surprise move to call time on his stay with the Jazz - revealing he was no longer confident the team were heading in the right direction as he "couldn't see a clear path forward" in the days following his departure.

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Who could be the next head coach of the Hornets?

As mentioned previously, Charlotte already have a talented squad in place and their backcourt pairing of Bridges and Ball, who earned his first All-Star selection in 2022, should only get better in the years ahead.

Whoever takes charge of the team doesn't need to oversee a significant rebuild, so they should be a fairly attractive proposition for a prospective head coach.

It looked as if former Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson was set to take charge of Charlotte and it is understood he agreed a four-year deal with the franchise.

However, Atkinson has now informed the Hornets he intends to remain as Steve Kerr's assistant at Golden State Warriors.

Former Lakers, New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns coach Mike D'Antoni, 71, and Terry Stotts - who left Portland Trail Blazers after nine seasons last summer - are now being linked with the vacant role.

Who could be the next head coach of the Jazz?

While the task at Charlotte looks straightforward, whoever takes charge of Utah will have some big obstacles to overcome.

The Jazz are a team in need of a rebuild amid speculation Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell could seek exits during the summer. Even if those two stars end up sticking with the team, filling the void left by Snyder - who perhaps overachieved during his time in charge - is a big ask.

Utah have reportedly interviewed 15 candidates for the position and appear in no rush to make a decision on Snyder's replacement.

Alex Jenson, who has been Utah assistant since 2013, is believed to be in the running as he seeks a first head coaching role in the NBA, while Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin is also thought to be a candidate to replace Snyder.

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