It’s been quite some time since we’ve heard from former Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, fired by the franchise just under a year ago to pave the way for a new era in the front office. Kupchak attended Kobe Bryant’s jersey retirement ceremony, but remained in the background, a place he often kept himself while operating the franchise.
There’s been little chatter about what comes next for Kupchak, who had a great run with the Lakers before the franchise went into a nosedive following the Dwight Howard fallout. The NBA is in full trade deadline mode, but Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports dropped an interesting morsel in his big roundup column.
The Charlotte Hornets have Kupchak pegged as a “favorite” to take over as general manager as current GM Rich Cho finishes the final year of his contract. Charlotte has been shopping its franchise centerpiece Kemba Walker leading up to the deadline, but with Cho’s potential exit, could hold off until their next front office leader is in place.
Here’s what Mannix had to say about the situation, via Yahoo Sports:
The Hornets continue to field calls on Kemba Walker, but no Walker deal gets done unless a team absorbs one of the handful of bad contracts on Charlotte’s roster, sources said. Another variable at play: The future of GM Rich Cho. Cho is in the final year of his contract and there have been rumblings that former Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is a favorite among high-ranking team officials to take over next summer. If Hornets owner Michael Jordan is resolved to replace Cho, he may not sign off on dealing Charlotte’s most appealing asset.
The Lakers were clearly in a rut and it may have been time for change for the sake of change, and ironically that might be the same kind of situation that leads Kupchak to his next role. Seeing Kupchak back in the league, with a chance to show his chops outside of the shadow of the Lakers’ franchise, would definitely be an interesting story to follow from a distance.
Let us all wait for the return of “The Ninja” himself.