Sources: Spurs assistant turns down New Mexico head-coaching job

James Borrego, 39, was a finalist for the Houston Rockets' and Memphis Grizzlies' head-coaching openings in 2016. (AP)
James Borrego, 39, was a finalist for the Houston Rockets' and Memphis Grizzlies' head-coaching openings in 2016. (AP)

San Antonio assistant James Borrego, a front-runner for the University of New Mexico head-coaching job, has decided to remain with the Spurs, league sources told The Vertical.

Borrego, a native of Albuquerque, listened to New Mexico’s pitch last week but informed school officials on Sunday night that he planned to exit the search process and continue pursuit of future head-coaching opportunities in the NBA, league sources said.

Borrego, 39, was a finalist for the Houston Rockets’ and Memphis Grizzlies’ head-coaching openings in 2016, impressing officials in multiple interview sessions for both jobs. Borrego is expected to remain a top candidate for future head-coaching jobs. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has a successful history of producing head coaches from his staff.

After two-plus seasons as top assistant in Orlando – including 30 games as the interim head coach – Borrego returned to Popovich’s coaching staff in 2014. Borrego worked his way up from the video room in the Spurs’ organization to the coaching staff, and then joined New Orleans as an assistant coach in 2010. Jacque Vaughn hired Borrego as his top assistant with the Orlando Magic in 2012.

After Vaughn was fired midway through the 2014-15 season, Borrego earned positive player reviews in a 10-20 stint as the interim coach of the Magic.

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