Rod Higgins Rumors

Cody Zeller: So I talked to Rod Higgins for about a minute. I don’t remember much, I just remember being a little short with him. I wasn’t being rude, but I was just trying to get to #23. “Thanks for the opportunity, I look forward to playing for such a great organization,” etc. Rod said, “Alright, I’m going to pass on the phone. Congrats and welcome to the team.” Next on the phone was Rich, the GM. Rich was the one that I had talked with the most in the organization up to that point, so I recognized his voice. But again, I just said some pleasantries and raced through it — because MJ was next. “Thank you for the opportunity. I look forward to playing for the Bobcats,” etc. Let’s get on with it. I was imagining what I’d say to Michael. I’d tell him he was the best ever. I’d tell him how I watched him my whole life. I’d tell him how I admired his business skills. For the 14-year-old Cody Zeller, it was all a dream. Then he said “Alright, I’m going to pass the phone on to Rich…” I froze. That meant it was Michael Jordan on the line. He had gone out of order. I scrambled to say, “Thank you Mr. Jordan” — or maybe I just said, “OK.” I have no idea. I had just rambled on for a minute to the best basketball player ever and I didn’t even know it was him.
“I would like to thank Rod for his seven years of dedication to this organization,” said Charlotte Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan. “Rod has been a consummate professional throughout his time with the team. Thanks to his hard work and commitment, we have an improved roster and we are poised for success in the future. Rod was of great help to me as I navigated my first four years as majority owner of this franchise. I wish him all the best.”
Rod Higgins is out as head of the Charlotte Hornets basketball operations. In an odd and ill-timed press release, the Hornets announced past midnight Friday that president of basketball operations Rod Higgins has “stepped down” two weeks before the Hornets make the ninth, 24th and 45th picks in the draft. Higgins has effectively run the Bobcats/Hornets basketball ops since June of 2011. He was a key figure in the decisions to sign free agents Al Jefferson and Ramon Sessions.
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Rod Higgins didn’t have long to serve as Charlotte Hornets president of basketball operations. Higgins stepped down from his duties as the top basketball decision-maker of the newly rebranded Hornets in a move announced by the team at 12:22 a.m. ET Friday. The news release came shortly after Game 4 of the NBA Finals had ended, an unusual move without much clarification offered for the abruptness. Rich Cho will remain general manager and assume responsibility for the team’s basketball operations. He will report to Jordan and Vice Chairman Curtis Polk. “I would like to thank Rod for his seven years of dedication to this organization,” Hornets owner Michael Jordan said in the release. “Rod has been a consummate professional throughout his time with the team. Thanks to his hard work and commitment, we have an improved roster and we are poised for success in the future. Rod was of great help to me as I navigated my first four years as majority owner of this franchise. I wish him all the best.”
Bobcats Sports & Entertainment announced today that the Charlotte Bobcats will return to UNC Asheville’s Kimmel Arena for their training camps in 2013 and 2014. This year’s training camp will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 1. Prior to training camp, the team will hold Media Day on Monday, Sept. 30, at Time Warner Cable Arena. “We had great success with our training camp at UNC Asheville last year,” said Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins. “As we anticipated, it was a perfect venue for us, and we are excited to have the opportunity to go back to Kimmel Arena this season and next season.”
Charlotte Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins announced today that the team has named Steve Clifford Head Coach. Clifford, who has spent the last 13 seasons as an NBA assistant coach, becomes the sixth head coach in franchise history. “We are excited to have Steve Clifford as our new head coach,” said Higgins. “He brings a strong pedigree and a track record of success to our franchise. He has built a reputation as an innovator, especially defensively, and has experience in multiple systems. We look forward to utilizing his knowledge as we continue to build this team.”
Jordan acknowledged this name change is just one aspect of the many fixes the franchise needs. The Bobcats were an NBA-worst 28-120 over the past two seasons and will have their third head coach in as many seasons, after firing Mike Dunlap. “I understand the name is a name. What we want to be proud of is what’s on the basketball court,” Jordan said. “I totally understand that. I’m not running away from that.” Asked about churning through three coaches in three seasons, Jordan didn’t offer anything specific: “I anticipate these guys (president of basketball operations Rod Higgins and general manager Rich Cho) have done their due diligence. I feel very confident these guys going through the process to make the right decision.”
Players were asked in their exit interviews last week for a review of Dunlap’s coaching style. It’s unclear how much that factored in the decision to let him go. In a post-season interview with the Observer Friday, Dunlap said he had evolved as a coach this season. He noted that he had backed off on managing every aspect of games from the sideline and had shortened practices. “Whether it’s Kemba Walker or Brendan Haywood, they appreciate what you don’t say when the game is being played,’’ Dunlap said. “In college you can literally yell across the floor and direct traffic with a player and it’s perfectly acceptable. Here the pro player can’t stand that.’’
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Charlotte Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins announced today that the team has relieved Mike Dunlap of his duties as head coach. The search for his successor will begin immediately. “Rich Cho and I conducted our season-ending review and met with Coach Dunlap to reflect on this season. As an organization, it was decided that we needed to make a change with the head coach position,” Higgins said. “We want to thank Mike for his contribution and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
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Charlotte Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins announced today that the team has signed guard Jannero Pargo to a 10-day contract. Pargo will wear No. 5. The Bobcats roster stands at 15 players. The 6-1 Pargo is in his ninth NBA season and has career averages of 6.4 points, 2.0 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 443 games played with the Lakers, Raptors, Bulls, Hornets, Hawks and Wizards. For his career, Pargo has shot .388 from the field (1104-2845), .350 from beyond the three-point line (338-966) and .867 from the free-throw line (301-347). He has also seen action in 40 playoff games, averaging 5.8 points, 1.5 assists and 1.4 rebounds in the postseason.
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Rod Higgins has waived his share of players in 12 years as an NBA executive. But his most recent cut hit especially close to home: On Saturday night, the Bobcats president of basketball operations waived his own son. “When you make a decision like that to sign your son, you know a day like this could always happen,” Rod Higgins told Yahoo! Sports. “The player realizes the same thing. The personal aspect is the personal aspect. But when you take the next step and realize it’s a business, you always know this could happen.”
Responding to Augustin’s comments, Bobcats vice president of basketball operations Rod Higgins told the Observer, “I’m not going to go into specifics, but we offered him more than he signed for in Indiana.” The Bobcats rescinded Augustin’s qualifying offer once they came to terms with free agent Ramon Sessions during July. Within hours, Augustin signed with the Pacers.
Those comments came as a surprise and a disappointment to Rod Higgins, who heads the Bobcats’ basketball operations. The Bobcats offered Augustin a lucrative contract extension last season that he turned down. When the Bobcats came to terms with Ramon Sessions, the team rescinded a qualifying offer for more money than the one-year, $3.5 million contract Augustin signed with Indiana. “I’m not going to go into specifics, but we offered him more than he signed for in Indiana,’’ Higgins told the Observer at Friday shootaround. “I don’t think it would be appropriate to comment further than that.’’