Hornets Rumors: Terry Stotts to Interview for HC Job; Darvin Ham 'Serious Candidate'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 17, 2022

DENVER, CO - MAY 24: Head Coach, Terry Stotts of the Portland Trail Blazers reacts to a play during the game against the Denver Nuggets during Round 2, Game 2 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on May 24, 2021 at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

The Charlotte Hornets are reportedly set to interview former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts about their head coaching vacancy.

Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic reported the update Tuesday and noted Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham has also emerged as a "serious candidate" to replace James Borrego, who was fired following the 2021-22 NBA season.

The Hornets made significant strides over the past two years, including a 43-39 record this season, which marked their first time finishing above .500 since 2015-16.

They fell short against the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament, though. So now the hunt is on for a coach who can end their six-year playoff drought.

"These decisions are always difficult," general manager Mitch Kupchak said after Borrego was fired. "Having said that, we have a talented, young core of players which has me very excited about the future of the Hornets."

Stotts spent nine years leading the Blazers' staff before mutually parting ways with the team after the 2020-21 season. He posted a 402-318 record (.558 win percentage) with eight straight playoff appearances, including a trip to the 2019 Western Conference Finals.

The 64-year-old Iowa native previously had two-year head coaching tenures with the Hawks (2002-04) and Bucks (2005-07). He went a combined 115-168 (.406) during those stops.

Ham, 48, is a former NBA forward who's seeking his first opportunity to lead an NBA staff after 11 years as an assistant with the Bucks, Hawks and Los Angeles Lakers. He did serve as head coach of the G League's New Mexico Thunderbirds for one season.

Along with those two candidates, Heavy's Steve Bulpett reported Friday that longtime NBA coach Mike D'Antoni is a "leader" in the Hornets' coaching search.

D'Antoni is a consultant for the New Orleans Pelicans after previously serving as head coach for the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets. His career record stands at 672-527 (.560).

The coach who's ultimately hired will inherit a high-upside roster, led by LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges, Terry Rozier, PJ Washington and Kelly Oubre Jr.

There will be pressure to immediately push the Hornets into the East playoff field, though.