Charlotte Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak is resigning to become an organizational advisor, clearing the way for the franchise to begin searching immediately for a new head of basketball operations, officials said sources told ESPN Monday morning.
New owners Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin are expected to hire a new top basketball executive before the end of the regular season, allowing Kupchak to remain in his day-to-day role until his successor is on board, sources said. .
Kupchak, 69, would finish a remarkably successful career that included 10 championships as a front-office executive and player.
The Hornets’ search is expected to focus on several sitting general managers, including Philadelphia’s Elton Brand, New Orleans’ Trajan Langdon, Cleveland’s Mike Gansey and the LA Clippers’ Trent Redden, sources said. Brooklyn’s Jeff Peterson, Washington’s Travis Schlenk and Sacramento’s Wes Wilcox are among the assistant general managers who will be considered, sources said. Peterson, Schlenk and Wilcox worked with the Atlanta Hawks when Schnall was one of the franchise’s minority owners.
Schnall and Plotkin have begun initiating significant changes and improvements to the Hornets’ infrastructure since purchasing a majority stake in the team from Michael Jordan for $3 billion in August.
The Hornets have made several roster moves in recent weeks to begin gathering draft assets and young players for a rebuild, including two future first-round picks in the trades that sent Terry Rozier and PJ Washington. Rookie forward Brandon Miller showed promise as a future All-Star.
The franchise also embarked on a $275 million arena renovation and plans to build a new $60 million practice facility. The Hornets are 11-41 and have been largely decimated by injuries this season.
Kupchak will finish his sixth season as Charlotte basketball’s top executive, a run that included the drafting of Miller and 2021 NBA Rookie of the Year and All-Star guard LaMelo Ball.
Before joining the Hornets in 2018, Kupchak spent 30 years in the Lakers front office, including 17 years as general manager with four NBA championships and six Western Conference titles. Kupchak won seven titles as an executive, two as a Lakers player and one as a Washington player.
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