The Spurs coaching tree is always a hot commodity every summer, with generally at least one Popovich pupil being a top target for openings each year. We saw it with Mike Budenholzer, Brett Brown and countless others. This year it's Ettore Messina, and since being passed over for the Lakers job in favor of Luke Walton, Messina has few options left on the table. The Kings are the only team left on the market with an official coach opening, although the Knicks and Rockets could both decide to move in a different direction themselves.
Thankfully for the Kings, the Spurs aren't playing hard to get and have granted permission to not only talk to Messina but also to assistant James Borrego.
ESPN sources say the Kings have secured permission to interview Spurs assistants Ettore Messina and James Borrego for their coaching vacancy— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 4, 2016
Yet the sitdowns with Messina and Borrego, sources say, have not yet been formally scheduled with the Spurs in the midst of a playoff series— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 4, 2016
We've known about Sacramento's interest in Messina for some time now, but Borrego is definitely a new name in the mix. Borrego has spent most of his coaching career as an assistant in San Antonio, but did also spend some time in New Orleans as an assistant to Monty Williams and in Orlando as an assistant to Jacque Vaughn. When Vaughn was fired last year, he took over the team on an interim basis for the final 30 games of the season before returning to San Antonio this year when Orlando brought in Scott Skiles.
It is interesting that the Kings haven't apparently asked for permission to speak to Ime Udoka, whose name has been floating around for a few coaching vacancies.
One thing to note is that we don't know if all of these interviews are actually for the head coaching position. As Sam Amick pointed out a couple days ago, Elston Turner is likely being vetted for the role of Associate Head Coach (aka lead assistant) and not for the actual main job. It's possible that someone like Borrego is also being vetted for the same position. While it is seemingly odd that the Kings would be looking for an associate head coach before they even know who their head coach is, it's not an uncommon situation in the NBA (take David Blatt and Tyronn Lue for example), and the new head coach will hopefully still get the final say.
The Kings will likely have to wait until San Antonio's second round series with the Oklahoma City Thunder is over before being able to have talks with either Messina or Borrego. The latest that series can go is May 15th while the earliest it can finish is May 10th.