HoopsHype Rich Cho rumors

June 6, 2011 Updates

McMillan said he was “surprised” at the Blazers’ firing of general manager Rich Cho two weeks ago. Team president Larry Miller then said the main issue was a lack of chemistry between Cho and owner Paul Allen. “I was surprised and just as shocked as everyone else in that situation,” McMillan said. “I talked to Rich, and he’s a good guy and he does good work. I was surprised.” During his six seasons with Portland, McMillan has worked with four general managers – John Nash, Steve Patterson, Kevin Pritchard and Cho. He said he has no interest in taking on player personnel duties as a few other coaches – such as Mike Dunleavy with the Clippers – have done. “Either you’re a coach or you’re a GM, and I’m coaching the Blazers,” McMillan said. “I’m OK where I’m at.” Oregonian

June 2, 2011 Updates

Did you see the Rich Cho firing coming? Chad Buchanan: I would say I didn't say it coming. I can't speak for what sort of connection Mr. Allen and Rich had. That would be a question for somebody else. I can just speak for my daily interaction with Rich, which was positive. It's a part of the business, you've got to be prepared for just about anything in our business. It kind of comes with the territory. Like I said, we're going to move on. We've got some new roles, we've got a plan we're going to try to execute and we'll see where it takes us. Blazers Edge

May 31, 2011 Updates
May 29, 2011 Updates

Randy Pfund, one of three finalists for the Trail Blazers general manager position last summer, said he would still be interested in the job now that Rich Cho has been fired. Pfund, the former general manager of the Miami Heat, said he has not been contacted by the Blazers, but he said if the team did reach out to him he would consider the job. “I'm sure if there was interest, I would certainly look into it … assuming those guys haven't lost my number,'' Pfund said with a chuckle. “We'll see if anything develops.'' Oregonian

Pfund has not been in the NBA since resigning from the Heat in 2008 after 13 seasons, one of which included the 2006 NBA Championship. On Sunday, he was in Europe, where he has been conducting basketball camps. “I'm in Europe, but I heard the news, and I felt bad for Rich,'' Pfund said. “But other than that, I haven't put that much thought into it.'' Oregonian

When contacted by the Globe, Cho politely said he wasn’t ready to comment, but reports say he was shocked by the move. It could be difficult for the organization to attract a capable veteran GM because of its recent track record, and that could mean even more upheaval for a franchise that’s endured enough over the past few years. Boston Globe

Portland has been on a roll this past week, as far as eyebrow-raising news is concerned. Before the Roy news took over the local headlines, the firing of Rich Cho was the topic of discussion. With only 10 months as the Blazers' general management under his belt, Cho's firing came out of nowhere. "I didn’t really see it coming," said Mills. "I thought he did good. He handled the guys really well and formed some friendships. It's very unfortunate that he couldn't stick around." ProBasketballNews.com

May 24, 2011 Updates

But in the coming months, despite some tough and shrewd moves by Cho, Allen decided that Cho's computer programs and data were void of a basic need: interaction. So on Monday, in a stunning manner that has come to define Allen's recent direction of the Blazers, Cho was fired 10 months into his three-year contract for what the team called a "chemistry" issue between Cho and the owner. "This decision, as difficult as it was to make, reflects our willingness to admit and recognize that things haven't worked out," Allen said in a statement released by the team. "We're going to be tough on ourselves in assessing what we could have done better, and then go out and find the executive who is the best fit with the needs of our franchise. That chemistry and connection is critically important." Oregonian

On Thursday, Cho met with agent Andy Miller in Chicago for breakfast to discuss the future of Blazers point guard Andre Miller, whose tenure with the Blazers will end on June 30th unless the Blazers exercise a one-year option. By then, Larry Miller and Allen were about to pull the trigger on Cho's short run. Miller said he had several meetings with Cho immediately after the season, during which they evaluated his job and discussed his shortcomings. "That's when it really started to heat up," Miller said of the April meetings. "I think – and even Rich kind of felt – that the chemistry and connection just wasn't there, again mainly with Paul. But I think you know, from a fit perspective, it just wasn't the right fit." Oregonian

Behind the scenes, Cho was likeable, but guarded. He had a passion for cuisine, but not for talking, as conversations included long pauses and short responses. That didn't mean he wasn't quick to release his distinctive machine-gun laugh, or with an invitation to dine with him, but he never had the locker-room ease in shooting the breeze that is so prevalent in sports. "Because Paul is a fan, and because Paul is a student of basketball, he needs to have somebody who he can connect with around that, and talk to around basketball issues and players," Miller said. "So that was a big part of it. Also, with people in general, you either feel connected with somebody, or you don't. And I think that was part of the issue with Rich. He was never able to develop that connection." Oregonian

The Blazers disgraced themselves Monday in deciding to fire Cho after 10 largely successful months in charge. According to a reliable league source, Allen said he made the decision because he failed to establish a personal connection with Cho. That explanation was affirmed by the Blazers' news release, which described a relationship that simply didn't work out. SI.com

Cho received no warning he was about to be fired, I was told. Team president Larry Miller, who had recruited Cho for Allen, did not manipulate the dismissal. My understanding is that it had nothing to do with Cho's conduct, professionalism or job performance, all of which appeared to be excellent. SI.com

Cho, known for his salary cap acumen and analytical approach, made two moves of substance during his tenure, trading away guard Jerryd Bayless and trading for forward Gerald Wallace. He had meticulously planned his draft war room structure for months, turning a conference room into a think tank with flat screen televisions and white boards adorning all the walls. He never got a chance to use it. “I think the big issue was chemistry between him and the owner,” Blazers president Larry Miller told CBSSports.com. “They were just never able to click. Rich is a smart guy, a really nice guy, brings some talents to the table but I think if the chemistry isn’t right, it’s hard for it to work.” CBSSports.com

Of course it wasn’t right, because Cho was an independent thinker who wanted what any GM in the NBA should have as long as his business card bears that title: autonomy. The Blazers do not believe in autonomy, unless your name is Paul Allen or you are employed by Allen’s Seattle-based Vulcan Inc. The “Vulcanites,” as NBA front office insiders call them, ran Pritchard and assistant GM Tom Penn out of Portland and now someone has run out their replacement. Cho probably doesn’t feel this way now, but he’s better off. Or at least that’s what his colleagues in the GM profession hope. CBSSports.com

“Rich such a nice guy, such a good, gentle guy, and this could destroy him,” one of Cho’s colleagues said Monday. “He may never get another job as a GM because people will say, ‘How weird is it that you got fired after only 10 months on the job?’ But they don’t care about that stuff. They don’t care how they treat people.” CBSSports.com

I found Cho to be a decent guy. Intelligent. Funny, if you give him the chance. And he loved basketball. Cho's mother had heart surgery on Friday to install a pacemaker. He drove to Seattle and spent the weekend with her and thought he was coming back to a normal day of work on Monday. Allen was out of the country, and unavailable to comment on why exactly he cut Cho loose. Maybe his cellular telephone doesn't support roaming. Instead, Allen offered another flimsy statement, promising to do better next time. Oregonian

May 23, 2011 Updates

Echoing the tasteless, underhanded way the Blazers fired Penn and Pritchard, NBA front office sources told CBSSports.com Monday that word began circulating at the scouting combine last week in Chicago that Portland already was looking for Cho’s replacement. Good luck to Allen, Miller, Hat Man, Kolde, the dancing bears and clowns on a unicycle in their quest to find a better person for the job than the three aforementioned executives, who were all capable – not to mention deserving of the freedom to make their own basketball decisions. CBSSports.com

Joe Freeman: Blazers owner Paul Allen, in a release announcing team's split w/ Cho: "This decision, as difficult as it was to make, reflects our willingness to admit and recognize that things haven't worked out. We're going to be tough on ourselves in assessing what we could have done better, and then go out and find the executive who is the best fit with the needs of our franchise. That chemistry and connection is critically important." Twitter

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