AP sources: Hornets begin narrowing coaching search

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Michael Jordan is getting closer to hiring his next NBA coach.

The Jordan-owned Hornets are narrowing their search after interviewing several candidates, people familiar with the situation said Friday.

The people said the list of coaches who have interviewed include Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga, Raptors assistant Nick Nurse, Spurs assistants James Borrego, Ettore Messina, Ime Udoka and Blazers assistant David Vanterpol. Former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale also interviewed but has since been hired by the Knicks.

The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Hornets haven’t discussed the coaching search.

Larranaga, Nurse and Borrego may be the most experienced candidates, but with Fizdale out, the search remains fluid.

The 43-year-old Larranaga would be a popular hire with so many Celtics fans in the area and that he is a Charlotte native. The son of Miami Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga, he was born here while his father was working at Davidson College in the mid-1970s.

He spent 12 seasons playing overseas before landing a job in the NBA’s developmental league with the Erie Bay Hawks. He parlayed that into an assistant coaching position with the Celtics, and his now back in his second stint with the franchise.

Nurse also spent time overseas, coaching 12 years in Europe mostly in the British Basketball League and is very familiar with the talent overseas. He joined the Raptors in 2013.

Borrego has been an assistant coach in the NBA since 2003 with stints with San Antonio, New Orleans and Orlando.

Larranaga and Nurse are both currently coaching in the NBA playoffs.

The new coach will inherit a Hornets team that went 36-46 last season and has point guard Kemba Walker, center Dwight Howard and guard Nic Batum as its best three players.

The Hornets fired Steve Clifford in April after five seasons as head coach. The Hornets had missed the playoffs in three of the past four seasons, including the last two.

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