Hornets Rumors

What Should The Hornets Do With Nic Batum?

In a mailbag piece for The Charlotte Observer, Rick Bonnell argues that despite the frustration voiced by fans over the contract of Nicolas Batum, who’s still owed $76.7MM in guaranteed money over the next three seasons, the Hornets should not even consider waiving the swingman.

That’s because under the new CBA rules, Batum’s salary would continue counting against the Hornets’ cap even after his release, as there is no longer an Amnesty provision (link) incorporated into the new CBA. Moreover, the Hornets had more issues this season than Batum.

Instead, Bonnell suggests that Batum’s contract, although troublesome, is not “untradeable”, and that the Hornets should be able to trade Batum away if they are willing to take on some other bad contracts in return.

And in another article for the Observer, Bonnell opines that Batum doesn’t necessarily need to be traded. Rather, the Hornets’ next head coach should look to resurrect Batum’s game, which may mean letting him handle the ball more as arguably the team’s top ball-mover and facilitator.

Ettore Messina To Remain Spurs’ Coach For Game 5

Top Spurs assistant Ettore Messina will continue to serve as the club’s interim head coach for Game 5 of its series against the Warriors on Tuesday, the team announced today. It will be Messina’s third game as head coach this series.

Messina is filling in for Gregg Popovich, who is away from the team mourning the death of his wife Erin. The Spurs will give Popovich as much time as needs, so it’s not clear if we’ll see him again on the sidelines this season.

The Spurs currently trail the Warriors 3-1, with Messina having helped lead the team to a victory at home in Game 4. In order to further extend the series, San Antonio will need to pick up a victory in Oakland, which will be no easy task — the Dubs haven’t lost a home playoff game since Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, having won 11 in a row since then.

Messina is on the Hornets’ list of candidates to interview for the head coaching job in Charlotte. If the Spurs had been swept, Messina likely would’ve met with the Hornets within the next few days, but that interview will remain on hold until San Antonio’s season is over.

Ime Udoka To Interview With Hornets

The Hornets will interview Ime Udoka for their head coaching vacancy this week, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. An assistant in San Antonio, Udoka joins fellow Spurs assistant Ettore Messina and former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale on Charlotte’s interview list.

Udoka has been an assistant to Gregg Popovich for the past six years after concluding his playing career in San Antonio in 2010/11. He played seven NBA seasons, also spending time with the Trail Blazers, Kings, Knicks and Lakers.

Keep up to date with all the latest coaching news with our NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker.


Hornets To Interview Fizdale, Messina

David Fizdale and Ettore Messina will both have interviews with Charlotte in the next few days, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Fizdale has been a popular name since the season ended, interviewing for the opening in Phoenix with another interview upcoming for the job in New York. A longtime assistant in Miami, he led the Grizzlies to the playoffs last year before being fired 19 games into this season.

Messina, considered among the world’s top international coaches, has been an assistant in San Antonio for the past four seasons and is filling in for Gregg Popovich in the playoffs after his wife’s death. The Spurs granted permission last weekend for Messina to interview with the Hornets.

Stay up to date with all the latest developments on the coaching front with our Coaching Search Tracker.

Hornets' Meeting With Messina May Take Place Next Week

As we relayed last weekend, the Hornets have been granted permission to interview Spurs assistant Ettore Messina for their open head coaching position. With Messina’s Spurs still alive in the postseason – and Gregg Popovich away from the team to be with his family following the death of his wife – the veteran assistant isn’t currently available for that interview. But he may be soon.

As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes, the Hornets intend to move quickly to meet with Messina once the Spurs’ season is over. With San Antonio trailing Golden State 3-0, that series could end as early as Sunday. And according to Bonnell, the meeting between the Hornets and Messina is currently on track to take place in the middle of next week, unless the Spurs can win a couple games against the Warriors and extend the series.

Why Hornets Should Pursue Kawhi Leonard

  • Jerry Stackhouse, who is an alum of North Carolina, is reportedly in consideration for the Hornets‘ head coach vacancy. If he is hired, that means the owner (Michael Jordan), general manager (Mitch Kupchak), assistant general manager (Buzz Peterson) and head coach (Stackhouse) would be former Tar Heels. Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer writes that Charlotte should look beyond Stackhouse’s collegiate ties in selecting a head coach.
  • With Kawhi Leonards future with the Spurs seemingly unstable, several reports have suggested he will be an offseason trade target for various teams around the league. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer outlines how and why the Hornets should pursue the two-time Defensive Player of the Year.

2018 NBA Head Coaching Search Tracker

After a period of virtually unprecedented stability in the NBA’s head coaching ranks, the coaching carousel started spinning again during the 2017/18 league year. Three teams made in-season coaching changes, installing interim replacements, and three more clubs have dismissed their head coaches since the regular season ended.

In the space below, we’ll provide daily updates on the head coaching searches for each club that has yet to give anyone the permanent title. Some of these searches could extend well into the spring, so be sure to check back each day for the latest updates.

Updated 4-25-18 (1:46pm CT)

Charlotte Hornets

  • Out: Steve Clifford (story)
  • To interview: Jerry Stackhouse (story), Ettore Messina (story), David Fizdale (story), Ime Udoka (story)
  • The Hornets also made a change in their front office, hiring Mitch Kupchak as their new president of basketball operations and general manager. Kupchak will lead the search for a new head coach, with fellow UNC alum Stackhouse among the first of the candidates who will interview for the job.

Memphis Grizzlies

Milwaukee Bucks

  • Out: Jason Kidd (in-season change)
  • Interim coach: Joe Prunty
  • As long as the Bucks remain alive in the playoffs, the team won’t actively move forward with its coaching search. If Prunty can get the club through the first round, he’d become a stronger candidate for the permanent job.

New York Knicks

  • Out: Jeff Hornacek (story)
  • Interviewed: Jerry Stackhouse (story), Mark Jackson (story), Mike Woodson (story), Kenny Smith (story), David Fizdale (story), Mike Budenholzer (story), David Blatt (story; additional details), James Borrego (story)
  • Other rumored candidates or targets: Doc Rivers (story), Craig Robinson (story)
  • Not in running: Jeff Van Gundy (story), Jay Wright (story)
  • The Knicks are casting a wide net as they search for a new head coach, meeting with current and former head coaches, assistants, and even Smith, who has no previous coaching experience. Jackson, Fizdale, Blatt, and Stackhouse were initially considered part of the team’s “top tier” of candidates, though it’s possible another prospective hire emerges with a strong interview. Budenholzer, who reportedly wants to coach the Knicks, could be that emerging candidate.

Orlando Magic

  • Out: Frank Vogel (story)
  • To interview: Jerry Stackhouse (story)
  • Other rumored candidates or targets: Nick Nurse (story)
  • The Magic plan to take their time with their search, so there haven’t been a ton of rumors about their targets so far. They’ve been linked to a couple coaches in the Raptors organization, given president Jeff Weltman‘s connection to Toronto.

Phoenix Suns

Clifford: Team Lacked Spirit This Season

  • Steve Clifford, who was fired as the Hornets coach last week, believes the team didn’t play with the same attitude it showed in previous years. Clifford made the comments during a press conference posted on the team’s website. “We’ve always had spirit. We didn’t have that this year,” he said. “Some games (we did), but not nearly the togetherness and spirit we’ve had in other years. They know that.”

Jerry Stackhouse To Meet With Magic, Hornets

Having already lined up an interview with the Knicks, Jerry Stackhouse also plans to meet with the Magic and Hornets about their head coaching vacancies, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Stackhouse, who had been serving as the head coach of the Raptors 905, Toronto’s G League affiliate, has become a popular up-and-coming NBA head coaching candidate. In his last two seasons with the 905, Stackhouse led the team to back-to-back NBAGL Finals, winning the G League championship in 2017.

The Magic had been viewed as a potential landing spot for Stackhouse once Frank Vogel was fired due to Stackhouse’s link to president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman. Before being hired by Orlando last year, Weltman was the general manager in Toronto.

Meanwhile, the North Carolina connection that made Mitch Kupchak a logical choice as Michael Jordan‘s new president and GM in Charlotte may also help Stackhouse. Like Kupchak and Jordan, Stackhouse played his college ball at UNC.

Stackhouse is the first candidate reported to have an interview with the Magic. As for the Hornets, they also reportedly intend to meet with Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, and have been cited as a possible destination for former Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale.

Hornets Granted Permission To Interview Ettore Messina

The Hornets plan to interview Spurs assistant Ettore Messina for their head coaching vacancy, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. San Antonio has granted permission for Messina to interview with Charlotte.

Messina, who has been with the Spurs for the past four seasons, has experience working with new Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak when they were both with the Lakers. Messina served as a consultant for coach Mike Brown during the 2011/12 season.

Although there has been speculation about other candidates, Messina is the first name to emerge in an interview capacity since the Hornets fired Steve Clifford on Friday. A long-time international coach, Messina has been in the running for several NBA head coaching opportunities in recent years.

Messina was named best coach in the Italian League three times and is a two-time winner of EuroLeague Coach of the Year. He was named to the Italian Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.