The Charlotte Hornets confirmed rumors that they were getting closer to adding Mitch Kupchak to their front office, announcing Sunday morning they have hired the former Lakers executive as president of basketball operations and general manager.
“I’m excited to join the Hornets organization and I want to thank (Hornets owner Michael Jordan) for this opportunity,” Kupchak said in a statement. “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.”
Jordan was happy to have the chance to hire Kupchak, who he called “a proven winner” in a statement. “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,” 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 spent 30 years the Lakers front office and nearly two decades as general manager. He was a huge part of building their three-peat teams with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, and later resisted Bryant’s trade demand, flipped pieces for Pau Gasol and watched the Lakers head to three NBA Finals, winning two.
Later, Kupchak’s trades for Steve Nash and Dwight Howard backfired, as did his signings of Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng to gargantuan free agent contracts, leading to his and Jim Buss’ eventual dismissal last season.