Where will New Orleans Pelicans assistant head coach James Borrego land next? Borrego is seemingly still in the mix in two concurrent coaching searches by the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers. However, recent rumors seem to suggest that Borrego is likelier to land with the Cavs than with the team in Hollywood.

Borrego has already been interviewed by both the Lakers and the Cavs. It could come down to who offers Borrego a job first, and based on what Marc Stein is hearing, it appears that Cleveland is closer to putting an offer on the table for Borrego than Los Angeles.

“As another source noted Saturday: James Borrego’s apparent lead in the Cleveland search could end up leaving Redick as the only top-tier candidate left on the Lakers’ list that they have a clear shot at,” Stein wrote on his Substack (The Stein Line).

Multiple league insiders also seem to support the understanding that Borrego is the No. 1 candidate so far for the Cavs.

“More insiders than not consulted these days, meanwhile, give Borrego an edge in the race to replace the ousted J.B. Bickerstaff with the Cavaliers,” added Stein.

Apart from Borrego, the Cavaliers have also interviewed the likes of other NBA former head coaches in Kenny Atkinson and Dave Joerger. Atkinson used to be the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets and is currently an assistant with the Golden State Warriors. Joerger, on the other hand, coached the Memphis Grizzlies and the Sacramento Kings for multiple seasons before becoming an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers and then with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Borrego also has some head coaching background in the NBA. Before he was hired by the Pelicans, Borrego coached the Charlotte Hornets from the 2018-19 season to the 2021-22 campaign. His stint with the Hornets did not produce a single appearance in the playoffs and he went just 138-163 during his Charlotte tenure overall.

Cavs’ landscape should James Borrego become team’s new head coach

May 11, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) reacts in the fourth quarter of game three of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs against the Boston Celtics at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

© David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

However,  handling a team with better talent overall should lead to more success for Borrego, and he could find that with the Cavs, who have made the playoffs two seasons in a row. After getting knocked out in the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs, the Cavaliers showed some progress and reached the second round in 2024. Despite taking a step forward in the playoffs, the Cavs still decided to part ways with J.B. Bickerstaff following the series loss at the hands of the Boston Celtics.

The Cavaliers have some big decisions to make in the offseason concerning their top players, with rumors swirling about the possibility of the team trading their core members like Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, Donovan Mitchell, and Evan Mobley, but all those remain a rumor for now. Plus, if the Cavs want to convince a coaching candidate high on their list to come and call the shots for Cleveland, that coach would love to hear some guarantee that the stars would still be there on the team once he takes over the gig.

Mitchell is the biggest subject in the Cavs’ offseason, as he only has one more year left on his current contract before a player option decision for the 2025-26 campaign. Cleveland could have an extension offer for him lined up as well for Allen and Mobley, who have zero dollars waiting for them at the moment beyond the 2024-25 NBA season.