Posts Tagged ‘Rich Cho’

The buzz is back in Charlotte (video)

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Steve Clifford didn’t make any promises when he took the job. He didn’t make any public declarations about where he was going to take the Charlotte Bobcats this season.

He vowed to do whatever it took to make things better, to serve as an agent of change in whatever way he could. It’s a vow that resonated with his players. He won them over, one by one, with his belief that they could be better than what they had been before, with a belief in them individually and as a collective.

Al Jefferson bought in from the start. Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist did, too. All of the Bobcats (and soon to be Hornets) believe now. They’ve already clinched the second playoff berth in Bobcats history, delivering on owner Michael Jordan‘s edict to restore the order in basketball-mad North Carolina, his home state.

There’s new life in Charlotte for the Bobcats and especially the Hornets. The buzz is back on Tobacco Road. But it has nothing to do with the storied college programs at Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest and North Carolina State.

March Madness is over. It’s playoff time and the Bobcats will take center stage in the days and weeks ahead …


VIDEO: There is new life in Charlotte thanks to the Bobcats (Hornets) grinding their way back to the playoffs

New Coaches: Heat Is On Already

 

HANG TIME, Texas – It’s not very often that 13 different teams decide to change coaches during one offseason. It’s a sign of these impatient times in which we live, especially when six of those teams finished last season with winning records.

It used to be “what have you done for me lately?” Now it’s “what have you done in the last 10 minutes?”

Of course, not every new coaching situation is the same. No one expects a pair of newcomers like Brad Stevens in Boston and Brett Brown in Philly to perform water-into-wine miracles with stripped-down rosters.

Doc Rivers goes coast-to-coast to show a 56-win Clippers team how to take the next step while Mike Brown returns to Cleveland with a roster full of young talent ready to bloom.

However, not everybody gets to settle in comfortably. Here are the five new coaches who’ll find that seat warm from Day One:

Dave Joerger, Grizzlies – Sure, he’s paid his dues and learned his craft in the minor leagues and as an up-and-coming assistant coach in the NBA. All he’s got to do now is take over a club that is coming off the best season in franchise history, including a run to the Western Conference finals. While that means the Grizzlies have a contending core in Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley and a supporting cast to repeat their feat, it also means that every decision, every move that Joerger makes from the first day of training camp through the end of the playoffs will be judged against his predecessor Lionel Hollins, who evidently could do everything except make his stat-driven bosses appreciate him. In a Western Conference that just keeps getting stronger, it will be tough enough survive, let alone thrive with a ghost on his shoulder.

Larry Drew, Bucks — After spending three seasons in Atlanta, where he always had a winning record but could never get the Hawks past the second round of the playoffs, Drew moves to a Bucks franchise that overachieves if it climbs into the No. 8 seed to play the role of punching bag for the big boys in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee has turned over its backcourt from an inconsistent pair of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis to a spotty trio of Brandon Knight, O.J. Mayo and Gary Neal. Rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo has size, athleticism and a bundle of talent. But he’s only 18 years old and the question is whether Drew will be given the opportunity to stick around long enough to watch him grow. The Bucks are one of two teams with plenty of space under the salary cap, but have no real intention of spending it except to get to the mandated league minimum. This is a Bucks franchise that doesn’t have a sense of direction and that hardly bodes well for a coach. It’s not even a lateral move for Drew and could make getting the next job that much harder.

Brian Shaw, Nuggets – After waiting so long to finally get his opportunity to become a head coach, Shaw steps into a situation that is almost the opposite of Joerger. The Nuggets let 2013 Coach of the Year George Karl walk along with Masai Ujiri, the general manager who built the team, and then blew a gaping hole in the side of the 57-win, No. 3 seed in the West roster by letting Andre Iguodala get away, too. Shaw still has Ty Lawson as the fire-starter in the backcourt, but one of these seasons 37-year-old Andre Miller has got to run out of gas. As if the rookie coach didn’t have enough to juggle with the mercurial JaVale McGee, now he’s got Nate Robinson coming off his playoff heroics in Chicago with that ego taller than the Rockies. It’s never a good time to be stepping into a new job when management seems to be pulling back.

Steve Clifford, Bobcats – He’s another one of the longtime assistant coaches that has paid his dues and was ready to slide down the bench into the boss’s spot. But Charlotte? That’s more like the ejector seat in James Bond’s old Aston Martin. The Bobcats have had six coaches in the seven years that the iconic Michael Jordan has been head of basketball operations and then majority owner. From bad drafting (Adam Morrison) to bad trades (Ben Gordon, Corey Maggette), through constant changes of philosophy and direction, the Bobcats simply go through coaches faster than sneakers. Now it’s general manager Rich Cho calling the shots, but that didn’t stop the firing of Mike Dunlap after just one season. Clifford gets veteran big man Al Jefferson to anchor the middle of the lineup, but he’d better have his seat belt fastened tight and watch out for those fingers on the ejector button.

Mike Malone, Kings — Not that anyone expects Malone to be under immediate pressure in terms of wins and losses. What the Kings need now that they have a future in Sacramento is to re-establish a foundation on the court. Of course, the multi-million-dollar question is whether that base will include the talented and petulant DeMarcus Cousins. Everybody knows that he’s physically got what it takes to be a dominant force in the league. But the jury is still out when you’ve played three years in the league and you’re still getting suspended for “unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team.” Paul Westphal and Keith Smart couldn’t get through to Cousins to make him somebody the Kings can rely on and were spat out. Now as the big man heads toward a summer where he could become a restricted free agent, the franchise needs to know if sinking big bucks in his future is an investment or a waste of time. That’s the intense heat on Malone and the clock will be ticking immediately.

The Bobcats’ Scouting Edge





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – In the seemingly endless search for an edge in the Draft process, teams are willing to go to great lengths to find theirs.

The Charlotte Bobcats, whose draft missteps of the recent past have been well documented (Sean May, Adam Morrison, etc.), have come up with a remedy for what has ailed them over the years. And they’ve found it in an original system designed by general manager Rich Cho, whose cutting-edge system has helped Michael Jordan‘s Bobcats completely rework their scouting process.

The first real chance the Bobcats will have to test it out comes Thursday night, when they’ll use it to assist them when they have the No. 2 pick (and No. 31, the first pick in the second round). Cho’s system involves a radically different approach to what the league is used to, as Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer details:

Cho’s system has all the basics you’d expect: Player contracts, statistics that can be used to compare Bobcats players’ development to others’, any potential bonuses that could complicate trade discussions. But beyond that, this is a function of Cho’s self-description as “a big information hound.”

Call it nosey if you like. To Cho, it’s being forewarned. You can see both the engineer and the lawyer in Cho’s concept.

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Jordan needs to make this shot





For Michael Jordan, this is like being called for pushing off on Bryon Russell, or getting stripped by Craig Ehlo, or throwing the ball to Steve Kerr and John Paxson, only to watch them miss.

In so many other instances in his playing career, Jordan has been both good and lucky. As an executive, not so much. And the crummy luck came back to haunt him once again with the NBA draft lottery, where the seven-win Bobcats suffered a bigger defeat the other 59 combined.

They’re choosing second in what’s probably a one-superstar draft. Such is life for Jordan since he traded his sneakers for a seat in the boardroom. He can’t seem to win.

When he had the first overall pick, while the GM in Washington, the prize was Kwame Brown. When he had the third pick, the 2006 college player of the year was available, and Adam Morrison was taken because he was a scorer, which the Bobcats desperately needed. (In a cruel twist of fate, Jordan later traded for the fourth pick in that 2006 draft, Tyrus Thomas, giving the Bobcats the biggest busts that year.)

Then he held lower lottery picks in franchise player drafts and missed out on Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving.

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Draft Day: The Moving Parts Festival

NEW YORK — Monta Ellis deserves credit for being the man to get this all started a few weeks ago. And sooner or later someone’s going to give the wacky days of trade chatter and pure speculation leading up to the NBA Draft a name.

Trade-rumors-a-palooza?

The Great Speculations?

Basketball’s International Moving Parts Festival?

We’ll keep working on that. In the meantime, it’s time to dive in and sort through the all the mess just hours away from the 2011 Draft and see if we can’t make a little sense of all these rumors:

Ellis Might Not Get Moved

For all the drama surrounding Ellis in recent weeks, he might not go anywhere. Both Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News and Ken Berger of CBSSports.com have confirmed the same things regarding Ellis:

According to an NBA source, new Warriors coach Mark Jackson has made at least two phone calls to Monta Ellis to tell Ellis how much he would love to coach him.

Here’s a full report and breakdown of the latest Ellis info by CBSsports.com’s Ken Berger, who has been all over this situation and everything I’ve heard is totally consistent with this.

It’s an open secret around the league that Ellis and his representatives are starting to believe that this might be the right time to move him to a title contender.

Ellis is in his prime, has put in many years with the Warriors, and two sources indicate that there has been some frank general discussion between GSW management and Ellis’ camp about his future, the team’s future, and whether the two should remain entwined.

Big point: Ellis loves playing at Oracle Arena. He apparently also appreciates what Jackson has been telling him.

But he’s wondering the same thing many execs around the league are wondering: How else could the Warriors get a necessary bigger player if they don’t trade Ellis?

Iguodala Stays Put As Well

Andre Iguodala‘s name has been linked to as much trade bluster as anyone in recent weeks, including Ellis. And yet there seems to be nothing solid in place heading into tonight’s festivities, as Kate Fagan of the Philadelphia Inquirer explains:

In recent weeks, the Sixers have discussed trades involving swingman Andre Iguodala with both the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers, along with various other teams, but have yet to find a deal they deem worthy of execution.

Two factors seem to be slowing the Sixers’ willingness to deal Iguodala: the impending change in ownership and the impending lockout.

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Cho The Right Step For Bobcats

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Michael Jordan gave up his dream of playing baseball after one year and gave up his fantasy comeback with the Wizards after two seasons.

So now is the great one now permanently giving up his role as talent evaluator to focus on the larger role as NBA owner of the foundering Charlotte franchise?

The Bobcats have taken a significant step forward with the hiring of Rich Cho to be the club’s new general manager. In an interview with Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, Rod Higgins said the decision to hire his replacement as G.M. was a simple one:
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Another Strange Twist In Portland

OKLAHOMA CITY – The news of Rich Cho‘s firing as general manager in Portland after barely a year (10 months to be exact) on the job stunned as many people here as it did back in Portland and around the league in general. Cho, a former assistant general manager to Thunder GM Sam Presti, worked for this organization for years and was beloved by all who crossed his path.

So what in the world could have gone wrong in such a short period of time that it ends with Cho, a rising star and easily one of the most likeable men in the basketball business, being relieved of his duties?

As TNT’s David Aldridge made clear, this was much more about bad chemistry than it was about Cho’s performance or the performance of his staff or the team.

After yet another failed chemistry experiment with a general manager, however, it’s becoming increasingly clear that this has nothing to do with the men chosen for the job and everything to do with the folks doing the choosing.

John Canzano of the Oregonian details it impeccably and also has a stern warning for job seekers thinking about the Blazers as a potential destination:

Don’t be awkward. And also, hope the awkward owner likes you.

Also, keep your head down, and smile, and shake hands. Sell your home and move your family to Portland, as Cho did a few months ago. Print up business cards and hand them out. Mostly, though, yuk it up with the big brains at Vulcan Inc., best you can. (Read: Nod a lot when they talk to you.)
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Oden’s Future in Portland …

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We hardly talk about him anymore around here.

When you suffered through as much pain and as many injuries as Greg Oden has in his NBA career, it’s easy to disappear into the hoops ether this time of year.

People are focused on the playoffs and other things, not the guys on the injured list that won’t see the floor anytime soon. So we need to thank The Oregonian‘s John Canzano for reminding us that the Trail Blazers still have a huge decision to make regarding Oden’s future with the franchise:

Consider that the Blazers did not extend Oden’s contract. He became the first No. 1 overall NBA pick since Kwame Brown to not receive that extension. As a result, the Blazers have the period from the day after the last game of this year’s NBA Finals to June 30 to make a one-year qualifying offer of $8.8 million to Oden.

If the Blazers make this offer, Oden becomes a restricted free agent this summer. He may field offers from other NBA teams, but the Blazers would have the right to match any offer and keep him.

If the Blazers don’t make a qualifying offer before June 30, Oden would simply become an unrestricted free agent. He’s free to leave. And that’s that.
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Life for Mavs & Blazers

Life is a little better today for the Mavericks, not so much for the Blazers. Let’s start with Portland, which announced today that “center Marcus Camby underwent successful arthroscopic surgery to repair a partial medial meniscus tear in his left knee this morning.”

The procedure was performed in Vancouver, Wash., and leaves the Blazers without the league’s fifth-leading rebounder (11.3) for approximately three weeks. Throw that on top of Greg Oden being out for the year — again — and Joel Przybilla contemplating retirement, and the Blazers might as well put up a Help Wanted sign in the unpainted paint in the Rose Garden lane.

General manager Rich Cho tried to put a happy face on the Portland’s latest surgery.

“We’re pleased with the outcome of today’s surgery, and look forward to seeing Marcus back on the court soon,” he said. “In the meantime, we have confidence in our frontcourt players to step into the void left by Marcus and help us continue to win games.”

In 39 games (all starts) this season, Camby averaged 5.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.87 blocks in 28.7 minutes. He’s the only player in the Western Conference averaging at least 11.0 rebounds and 1.50 blocks.

The Blazers went with a three-forward look of LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Dante Cunningham in the starting lineup in Wednesday’s win over Sacramento, with Przybilla being the first off the bench. Wonder if they’ll do the same in tonight’s TNT nightcap (10:30 p.m. ET) against the BlakeShow, aka the Los Angeles Clippers.

In the TNT opener, Dallas takes its much-needed one-game winning streak to run with the Bulls at 8 p.m. Chicago beat the Mavs on the road earlier this season, but Jason Terry and Co. are coming off Wednesday’s huge win over the Lakers.

“I’ve been here seven years and had never been through a stretch where we lost six games in a row,” Terry said. “I think the big thing was realizing and assessing the situation and then aggressively attacking from the beginning.”

Hump Day Hoops Roundup

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We know, we know, it’s just the preseason.

Tell that to the schedule makers, who had a nine-game preseason schedule last night that we could have sworn looked like something we’d see in the middle of December.

This month of action is indeed the warm up act for the “real thing.”

But that doesn’t mean we can’t get down with the Hump Day Hoops Roundup on a Wednesday morning:

DALEMBERT OUT, BOOGIE IN?

The Kings will play the next month to six weeks without the services of Sam Dalembert because of a groin injury. That could put rookie center DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins into the starting lineup for the start of the regular season, per Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.

It’s a big loss for the Kings, who were hoping to become a better defensive team behind Dalembert’s shot-blocking.

“It’s a problem because the perimeter has to play tight because we want to protect them and the foul situation,” said Kings coach Paul Westphal. “We don’t have the size to clog the lane like we’d like to, so our defense has to be a little different on the perimeter as well.”

The Kings have started rookie DeMarcus Cousins at center during the preseason, and that could continue in the regular season. When Jason Thompson isn’t at power forward, he is Cousins’ backup.

Cousins fouled out of the previous two games.

“DeMarcus can block some shots, he can take some charges and clog the middle,” Westphal said. “But he fights foul trouble, and he’s not going to just be an eraser like Dalembert, like Hassan can be.”

THE NBA = THE NEW COOL IN RUSSIA

A visit from CSKA Moscow brought out some interesting sights and sounds in Miami. Who knew that the NBA was the new cool in Russia? Linda Robertson of the Miami Herald observed the scene and highlights the league’s truly global appeal.

While driving to AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday, brothers Pavel and Yuri Kopeche listened to Russian rap music to get into the mood for the Heat’s game against CSKA Moscow.

The rapper, Don Zagru, is known for satirizing the state of Russian society and wearing LeBron James jerseys.

We know that King James has worldwide appeal. Here was confirmation that LeBronsky is the ultimate symbol of cool in cool-hungry Moscow.

Somewhere, basketball salesman David Stern is smiling.

“The NBA is the new vodka in Russia,” said Yuri Kopeche, a Russian native who has lived in Miami for five years. “People cannot get enough basketball. If you’re wearing a LeBron James shirt or a Knicks or Lakers cap, people know you are Americanized.

“Of course, Russia is usually about five years behind the United States. Britney Spears is very popular right now.”

NO BOOZER INJURY INVESTIGATION

The Bulls and Carlos Boozer have squashed all this talk of an investigation as to how Boozer broke his hand, an injury that will keep him out of the first month of the regular season. Both Boozer and Bulls officials denounced a New York Daily News report that the team was digging into the matter, per Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.

“The guy was trying to create a story out of no-story,” Boozer said of the report after Bulls shootaround Tuesday morning. “Horrible [report]. Obviously, you want to get your facts right before you decide to write something that’s not true. Horrible report. My Bulls are behind me, my teammates are behind me. For me, it’s disgusting when you have a reporter write something that’s not true.”

Boozer, who over the summer signed a five-year deal worth as much as $80 million, expects to have his cast off in three weeks. He hopes to return faster than the eight weeks that was anticipated by team doctors.

“I hope I’ll be back quicker than the normal time,” he said. “But [I'll] let the bone heal and see how it feels when I get my cast off in three weeks.”

Boozer admitted that he was upset by the report but said he was just trying to focus on getting back on the floor.

“I can’t worry about that, man,” he said. “I can’t worry about what people write. I know what’s real and what’s going on and for me, I’m just here for my team, supporting my team. I’ve got the support of my team, my organization, and I’m just looking to forward to getting back out there when my hand’s ready.”

BLAZERS MOVING ON WITHOUT ODEN?

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