San Antonio Spurs News

San Antonio Spurs: Ettore Messina to interview with Hornets

By Rob Wolkenbrod
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 17: Ettore Messina of the San Antonio Spurs before the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on January 17, 2018 in Brooklyn, New York. 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. (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 17: Ettore Messina of the San Antonio Spurs before the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on January 17, 2018 in Brooklyn, New York. 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. (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)
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San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina will reportedly interview with the Charlotte Hornets.

Since 2014, Ettore Messina has held a top spot on the San Antonio Spurs’ coaching staff, working with Gregg Popovich for four seasons. He brought experience from CSKA Moscow, Real Madrid and a stint as a consultant with the Los Angeles Lakers.

After these years next to Popovich, it’s possible Messina takes the next step in his NBA coaching career. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the former Team Italy manager received permission to interview with the Charlotte Hornets for their vacant head coach position.

Why Charlotte? Messina worked with general manager Mitch Kupchak on the Los Angeles Lakers, when Mike Brown was the head coach for just over one season.

The Charlotte Hornets have received permission to interview San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina for head coach opening, league sources tell ESPN. GM Mitch Kupchak and Messina worked together with Lakers, when Messina was part of Mike Brown’s coaching staff.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 15, 2018

This report comes hours after Kupchak cleaned house in Charlotte, including the firing on head coach Steve Clifford, who took the Hornets job in 2013. He compiled a 196-214 record in five seasons, making the playoffs twice (2014, 2016) and losing in the first round both times.

Messina is not the first Spurs assistant to join the rumor mill. Becky Hammon was linked to the Colorado State men’s basketball job, but she withdrew from consideration. Whether her name pops up in NBA rumors this summer remains to be seen.

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Attention will be on Messina’s status with the Hornets, and whether he becomes the latest Spurs assistant to take a job elsewhere. James Borrego held an interim head coach title with the Orlando Magic in 2015 before returning to San Antonio; Mike Budenholzer joined the Atlanta Hawks in 2013 but could leave this summer; the aforementioned Mike Brown spent time with the Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers; former Popovich guards Avery Johnson and Vinny Del Negro held NBA head-man gigs, too. Most of these disciples found success, so will Messina be the next one to in Charlotte?

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