Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan is expected to pursue former Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak to join his team’s front office.
While he may be known for recent poor contracts given to Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng, he had a long history with the team. Before his time with the Lakers ended, the former general manager was the second-longest tenured executive in the league behind Miami’s Pat Riley.
During his playing career, he won a gold medal while representing Team USA during the 1976 Olympics. Ernie Grunfeld, who is the current general manager of the Wizards, was on that roster with Kupchak.
Kupchak, like Jordan, played college basketball for the North Carolina Tar Heels. He was an All-American and was named Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year in 1976, eight years before Jordan.
This is not a huge surprise, considering Jordan hired his former college roommate Buzz Peterson. They have also acquired former North Carolina basketball players including Marcus Paige and Isaiah Hicks.
Others from the Tar Heels who have played for Charlotte since Jordan arrived for the franchise include Raymond Felton, Brendan Haywood and Marvin Williams.
While with the Lakers, it’s clear that Kupchak also had an affinity for former UNC stars. He brought in Rick Fox, Antawn Jamison, Kendall Marshall, Ed Davis and Wayne Ellington.
If the Hornets eventually hire Kupchak as an executive, could it open the floodgates for Charlotte to eventually bring in Jerry Stackhouse (who is developing a reputation as one of the top up-and-coming coaching candidates)? Stackhouse was a stellar college player at North Carolina and is currently a head coach in the G League for the Toronto Raptors’ affiliate.
We included him as a potential replacement for Jason Kidd when the 10-time NBA All-Star was fired by the Milwaukee Bucks earlier this season. Many around the league expect Stackhouse to become a head coach in the next few years.