Rich Cho Rumors
Marc STEIN: The status of Charlotte Coach Steve Clifford was not addressed above in our preview of potential coaching changes this offseason, but it seems safe to assume that every aspect of Charlotte’s basketball operations will be under the microscope once the Hornets have their replacement for Rich Cho after a highly disappointing season in which they were expected to make a much more credible playoff push.
The Charlotte Hornets have started securing permission to interview candidates for the franchise’s vacant general manager’s job, league sources told ESPN. Former Los Angeles Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak remains a frontrunner to ultimately receive an offer to replace Rich Cho, but the Hornets are engaging in a wider search process and plan to start an initial round of conversations with candidates as soon as this week, league sources said.
With Cho out, assistant general manager Buzz Peterson will run the front office on an interim basis. Curtis Polk, who has overseen most of Jordan’s investments for nearly three decades, said Peterson probably won’t be considered as the team searches for the next general manager.
After declining to offer general manager Rich Cho a new contract, Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan is planning to target former Los Angeles Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak for a high-ranking role in the organization, league sources told ESPN. Jordan is planning to continue grooming assistant GM Buzz Peterson as a foundation of Charlotte’s front office, and Kupchak is a primary target to partner with Peterson, league sources told ESPN.
“I want to thank Rich for all of his hard work with the Charlotte Hornets organization through the years and wish him and his family the best in the future,” said Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan. “Rich worked tirelessly on behalf of our team and instituted a number of management tools that have benefited our organization. We are deeply committed to our fans and to the city of Charlotte to provide a consistent winner on the court. The search will now begin for our next head of basketball operations who will help us achieve that goal.”
The Charlotte Hornets are unlikely to bring back general manager Rich Cho on a new contract next season, league sources told ESPN. Hornets owner Michael Jordan is expected to pursue former Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak to partner in the front office with assistant GM Buzz Peterson, essentially replacing Cho, league sources said.
The Hornets have had no contact with Kupchak on a possible position, league sources said. Kupchak won two NBA titles as Lakers GM before he was swept out in 2017 upon the arrival of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka. Jordan has long had an affinity for surrounding himself with fellow Tar Heels, and his plan includes Peterson remaining one of the key — if not the key — decision-maker in basketball matters. Charlotte could be pursuing Kupchak to further groom Peterson to take over full control of basketball operations, but the specifics of a role has not even been discussed with Kupchak, league sources said.