Former Lakers executive Mitch Kupchak will be the next General Manager for the Charlotte Hornets, the team announced Sunday. Along with GM, Kupchak will take over as President of Basketball Operations.
“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,” principal owner Michael Jordan said. “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 set to replace Rich Cho, who was fired in February after a 24–33 start to the season. The Hornets are out of the playoff picture and will miss the postseason for the third time in the five seasons under coach Steve Clifford.
“I’m excited to join the Hornets organization and I want to thank Michael for this opportunity,” said Kupchak. “I am well aware of the passion for basketball in Charlotte and throughout the entire state of North Carolina, and I am confident that we can build the Hornets into a successful team that our great fans can be proud of."
Kupchak was let go from the Lakers when the team decided to name Hall of Famer Magic Johnson as Los Angeles' president of basketball operations and removing Jim Buss as the executive vice president of basketball operations.
Kupchak spent 17 years as the Lakers' general manager and won four NBA championships. However, Kupchak was at the front of ill-advised signings of Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov and contributed to a frantic environment in Los Angeles towards the end of his tenure. He was a former star at the University of North Carolina, which he shares in common with owner Michael Jordan.
Waiting for Kupchak in Charlotte is a roster without much flexibility, as the Hornets have $117.3 million committed to their 2018-19 roster, well above the cap.