CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Four days after the NBA’s trade deadline passed, Charlotte Hornets GM and president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak announced he is stepping down.
The team confirmed the move and said Kupchak will move into an advisor role.
OFFICIAL: Hornets to begin search for new head of basketball operations; Mitch Kupchak to transition to advisory role with the team.
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) February 12, 2024
With Kupchak stepping down, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said new Hornets owners Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin are expected to hire his replacement before the end of the regular season. Kupchak will stay in his current day-to-day role until a hire is made.
According to the report, New Orleans GM Trajan Langdon, Brooklyn assistant GM Jeff Peterson, Cleveland GM Mike Gansey and Philadelphia GM Elton Brand are likely to be in the running for the Hornets’ job.
Kupchak, a UNC graduate and former NBA player, had been in his current role with Charlotte since 2018. During that time, the Hornets made the play-in tournament twice, but failed to advance to the postseason. The team posted a 176-259 record.
“After signing my extension two years ago, the plan has always been for me to move to an advisory role after this season when my contract ends,” Kupchak said. “Now feels like the appropriate time to begin the search for the next leader of our basketball operations.”
Highlights of his Hornets tenure include a draft-day trade for Miles Bridges and the drafting of stars LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller. He also orchestrated the sign-and-trade that brought Gordon Hayward to Charlotte. Hayward was solid for the Hornets when he was healthy, but was traded to the Thunder at the deadline.
With Ball and Miller both under contract for years to come, they figure to be the core of the Hornets’ future plans. Bridges, who is a free agent at season’s end, is reportedly open to re-signing with Charlotte and could be another key piece of the team’s future.
Kupchak’s successor will take over a team ravaged by injuries and near the bottom of the NBA standings.
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