Former Los Angeles Laker GM Hired by the Charlotte Hornets
Mitch Kupchak has returned to the NBA
The Charlotte Hornets announced Sunday that former long time Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has been named the team’s new general manager and president.
Kupchak replaces Rich Cho, who was fired in February. Buzz Peterson had previously served as the Hornets’ interim GM.
Interestingly, Kupchak has a connection to Hornets owner Michael Jordan, with the two sharing a common alma mater of North Carolina, although they played there nearly a decade apart.
“In every role and in every stop during his tenure in the NBA, Mitch Kupchak has brought the highest levels of success to his teams. He’s a proven winner,” said Jordan. “Having won championships as both a player and an executive, we have confidence that Mitch is the right person to lead our basketball operations, build a winning culture and bring sustained success to our organization, for our fans and for the city of Charlotte.”
Kupchak is best known for his tenure as the Lakers’ GM. Hired in 2000, he led the franchise to four championships, orchestrating such significant deals as the 2008 Pau Gasol trade, setting the stage for Los Angeles’ post-Shaquille O’Neal success. However, with the team’s eventual decline, he fell out of favour, and was fired in 2017, replaced by Magic Johnson.
Despite the excellent Kemba Walker, as well as the presence of stars such as Dwight Howard and Nicolas Batum, the Hornets have disappointed this year, with a record of 35-45. With $117 million committed to next year’s roster, the Hornets will be well above the cap, giving their new GM little flexibility. Kupchak faces a tough task in trying to dig Charlotte out of the hole that they have dug for themselves.