Substantive change is on the horizon for the Charlotte Hornets.
Though they elected not to make a major move at the trade deadline, owner Michael Jordan isn’t planning to bring back general manager Rich Cho next season. In fact, according to ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski, he already has Cho’s successor in mind—Mitch Kupchak, former general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers:
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.
This eventual move encapsulates the inflexibility of the Hornets’ situation. They have neither the cap space nor the desirable trade assets to beef up the depth chart, so Jordan is, essentially, shaking things up where he can.
But that doesn’t mean additional ramifications won’t follow suit. New front-office regimes typically like to instill their own head coach, which no doubt puts Steve Clifford’s job in jeopardy. Fresh faces also like to pitch their own long-term vision, both for the sake of job security and for the right to leave their own imprint on the organization. That, in turn, could lead to Kemba Walker getting traded over the offseason as well.
Of course, fiddling with things in the front office could be the extent of the Hornets’ identity shift. They have thus far gone to great lengths to remain mediocre, a directive we can only assume was given by Jordan himself. Despite being on track to miss the playoffs for the third time in four years, he may not yet be ready to embrace a full-on rebuild outside the front office—a stubborn view that probably factored into him setting his sights on a more aggressive executive like Kupchak.