Rich Cho, the Charlotte Hornets’ general manager, has been fired. We knew the Hornets would look into replacements but this kind of came out of nowhere. A midseason firing is unlikely to change much.
Initially, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Hornets general manager Rich Cho is unlikely to return to the team on a new contract next season. The Hornets will be looking to go in a new direction, and they are expected to heavily pursue former Lakers GM, Mitch Kupchak.
Story filed to ESPN: Charlotte unlikely to bring back GM Rich Cho on a new contract next season, expected to pursue former Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak to partner in front office with assistant GM Buzz Peterson.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 20, 2018
Moments later, the Hornets released a statement saying Cho had been let go.
Cho has been with the Hornets since 2011 and has had mixed reviews during his time here with the team. “Trader Cho” as many fans knew him, was always be willing to pull the trigger on the trading block in hopes of improving the team. While it often improved the team in the short-term, recent moves have been less successful.
The fallout with Cho and the front office likely comes from the disappointing season so far that feels like a carry over from last season. The Hornets top contract guys aren’t playing well at all, and the Hornets currently sit at 24-33 with no concrete plan of action. They continue to be just a little bit too good to be in the pack of teams who are tanking for lottery positioning, but too bad to be able to break into the playoff threshold.
This clearly isn’t what Hornets owner Michael Jordan wants. He wants to continuously be in the top five of the Eastern Conference. He wants to be a winner, for that he will look to a proven winner to right this ship.
The Hornets’ top target appears to be Mitch Kupchak. A known name throughout the basketball world, Kupchak spent the entirety of his front office career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He retired from playing basketball in 1986 and was immediately given the Assistant GM role. He took over as full time GM in 2000 once Jerry West stepped down from his position with the team.
If the Hornets were to bring in Kupchak, we could be in for a roller coaster of an off-season as Kupchak is known to have a win now mentality and will more than likely do what has to be done to put the team in that situation. Kupchak has never truly had to build his team from the bottom up (the man had Kobe Bryant) and a lot of Hornets fans think that is what this franchise needs at this point, a blow up.
Kupchak struggled in Kobe’s finals years to rebuild the team around him as he was never truly committed to actually rebuilding the team through the draft. It led him to making panicked decisions like the Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov contracts in hopes that could propel the Lakers back into one of the top teams in the west. Hopefully he’s learned from those poor decisions if he does indeed come here.