Archive for the ‘ Charlotte Hornets Blog ’ Category

The Charlotte Hornets have named Joe Wolf head coach of their G League team, the Greensboro Swarm. Wolf becomes the second head coach in franchise history.

“We are excited to have Coach Wolf join our organization,” Kupchak said. “Joe has a wealth of experience at the collegiate and professional level and knows what it takes to develop young players. Coach Wolf will be an integral part of the program we are building. He is familiar with the region’s passion for basketball and we are excited for him to lead the Swarm in Greensboro.”

Wolf, 53, joins the Swarm after being an assistant coach at UNC Wilmington under C.B. McGrath. Prior to UNCW, Wolf was an assistant with the Brooklyn Nets (2014-17) and Milwaukee Bucks (2008-13). In total, Wolf brings over 14-years coaching experience to the job.

“I am thrilled to be the head coach of the Greensboro Swarm and join the Hornets organization,” Wolf said. “I want to thank Michael Jordan, the Jordan family, Mitch Kupchak, Buzz Peterson and James Borrego for giving me this opportunity in the G League. I am looking forward to developing young players, implementing Coach Borrego’s system and playing an exciting brand of basketball. I cannot wait to get to work.”

A native of Kohler, Wisconsin, began his coaching career after playing professionally for 11 seasons in 2003-04 at William & Mary. Wolf was the head coach for the Idaho Stampede of the Continental Basketball Association from 2004-06 before becoming the head coach/general manager of the Colorado 14ers in the NBA Development League (2006-08). During his tenure with Idaho and Colorado, 17 players were called up to the NBA. At the international level, Wolf served as an assistant coach the Ukrainian National Team, helping the court qualify for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

Wolf played for seven franchises since being drafted as the No. 13 overall selection in the 1987 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. Including two stints with the Hornets, he played for the Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers, Orlando Magic and Milwaukee Bucks. He also played one season in Spain’s top league, the ACB, with Leon.

Kemba Walker discusses his future

The Knicks could use a well-established point guard. Kemba Walker fits that description. But he’s a Hornet, and isn’t predicting that to change anytime soon. Of course, in this particular situation it makes all the sense in the world for Kemba to talk about the Hornets and no one but the Hornets. Here’s the Hartford Courant with more:

Kemba Walker can’t avoid it. Whenever he sets foot in the five boroughs, the questions come from every direction.

“I’ve been hearing it for years,” Walker said Thursday, after working with youngsters at the National Basketball Players Association summer camp. “Every time I come home, ‘When are you going to come home and play for the Knicks?’ I know it’s a special place, I was a Knicks fan growing up, always rooted for the home team. But I just can’t see myself in a Knicks jersey, only because I’ve only been in one jersey.”

Walker, 28, a two-time All-Star, is seven years removed from that never-to-be-forgotten UConn finish, and seven years into his NBA career, all with the Hornets, entering his prime and a year away from free agency…

There is also temptation for the Hornets to trade him now and get maximum value in return. Walker, who has averaged more than 20 points per game in each of the last three seasons, has been a popular figure in the summer’s trade rumors.

“At first, it bothers you,” he said. “Who wouldn’t it bother? Who wants to hear his name in trade rumors? But I’m seven years in, it’s not the first time. It’s something I’ve gotten over. What can I do?”

Full article

Former NBA GM Bob Bass dies

Some sad news in the NBA world came Friday. Here’s the Charlotte Observer reporting:

Bob Bass is the one general manager ever to trade former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant.

He did so much more than that in a pro basketball career that spanned five decades. He was the most impactful GM in Charlotte NBA history. Bass died Friday in San Antonio at the age of 89. He suffered two strokes recently.

Bass began as Hornets GM in 1995, working for owner George Shinn, and retired in 2004 after guiding the franchise through the move to New Orleans. Yes, he traded two future Hall of Famers in Bryant and Alonzo Mourning. He also got the Hornets to the playoffs in seven of his nine seasons, oversaw the only two seasons of 50 or more victories in franchise history, and won the NBA Executive of the Year in 1997 after the Hornets won 54 games.

Bass was as old-school as anyone I’ve covered. He grew up in Oklahoma, married a fellow coach, Pat, of Native American descent, and built a career working for pre-merger American Basketball Association teams on shoestring budgets. He once told me about selling off office furniture to pay some bills at one of his ABA stops in Denver, Miami, Memphis and San Antonio.

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Here’s a statement on Bob Bass from the Charlotte Hornets: “The Charlotte Hornets are saddened to learn of the passing of Bob Bass. After coming to Charlotte in 1995, Bob was responsible for some of the most successful teams in Hornets history and left an indelible mark on our franchise. Under his leadership the Hornets never finished a season with a record under .500, and his team building earned him the NBA’s Executive of the Year Award in 1997. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Pat, sons Kelly and Kip, and the entire Bass family.”

And here’s a statement from Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich: “Over the course of four decades, Bob Bass had a huge impact in both the ABA and NBA. BB was a true pioneer in the world of professional basketball. His knowledge, passion and dedication to the game were inspiring. We send our condolences to the entire Bass family.”

Hornets waive Mangok Mathiang

Yesterday, the Charlotte Hornets waived Mangok Mathiang.

Mathiang signed a two-way contract with Charlotte on Aug. 2, 2017. In 2017-18, the 6-10 forward from Louisville appeared in four games with the Hornets, averaging 2.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in 5.0 minutes per contest. He also appeared in 43 games (36 starts) for the Hornets G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, averaging 10.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.1 assists in 25.3 minutes per game.

The Charlotte Hornets have signed guard Jaylen Barford and forwards Zach Smith and Isaiah Wilkins to the team’s training camp roster.

In two years at Arkansas, the 6-3 Barford averaged 15.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 28.3 minutes per game in 71 contests. An undrafted free agent, Barford recorded averages of 17.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steals in 35 games as a senior in 2017-18. The Jackson, Tennessee, native finished the season amongst the SEC leaders in the following categories: field goals made (first, 224), points scored (third, 628), points per game (third, 17.9), three-point field goals (fourth, 87) and field goal percentage (sixth, .470). As a junior, he averaged 12.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game.

Smith, an undrafted free agent from Texas Tech University, appeared in 117 career games over four years (2014-18). In 117 contests, he finished his collegiate career with averages of 8.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 28.7 minutes per game. The Plano, Texas native averaged 6.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.0 blocks in 23 games as a senior in 2017-18. Smith received All-Big 12 Honorable Mention for both of his final two seasons.

Wilkins was a four-year collegiate player at Virginia (2014-18) where he appeared in 132 career games, posting averages of 9.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 21.7 minutes per game. Wilkins recorded averages of 6.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.4 blocks as a senior in 2017-18. The Lilburn, Georgia, native was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and named to the All-ACC Defensive Team.

With the addition of Barford, Smith and Wilkins the Hornets roster stands at 18 players.

The Charlotte Hornets today unveiled a new white Classic Edition uniform to be worn during the 2018-19 season when the franchise celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the inaugural 1988-89 Hornets season.

Like the teal version from the 2017-18 campaign, the uniform echoes the design worn by the original Charlotte Hornets from their inception in 1988 through 1997.

“With the success of our teal Classic Edition uniforms last season, we felt it was only right to bring the white version back this year as part of our 30th Anniversary celebration,” said Hornets President & Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield. “As we look to replicate the experience and excitement of the early days of the Hornets, wearing the white uniform that the original team wore every night at the Charlotte Coliseum brings another layer of authenticity for our fans.”

The new uniform will be worn during the series of “Classic Night” games, which will celebrate the history of the Hornets and feature music and game presentation elements designed to take fans back to the Charlotte Coliseum of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The “Classic Night” games will honor some of the organization’s all-time great players and feature giveaways, including bobbleheads and T-shirts, that highlight some of the top players and moments in Hornets history.

There will be a minimum of six “Classic Night” games during the 2018-19 season.

Based on the uniform worn during the Hornets’ first decade, the white jersey includes the familiar crossover v-neck and multi-colored pinstripes in light blue, royal blue, green and purple. The shorts feature the classic Hornets logo on the waist and the identical royal blue, white and teal trim as the original.

Like the rest of the team’s uniforms, the white Classic Edition features the logos of Nike’s Jordan Brand on the right chest and partner LendingTree on the left chest.

Hornets officially sign Tony Parker

The Charlotte Hornets’ signing of veteran point guard Tony Parker became official today.

According to the Charlotte Observer, “ESPN reported Parker is guaranteed $5 million for next season, with the 2019-20 season a team option at $5.25 million. The Spurs expressed some interest in re-signing him and the Denver Nuggets also were interested.”

“We are thrilled to add a player of Tony’s caliber and experience to our roster,” said Kupchak, “We believe his track record of success and playoff resume will add backcourt depth to our roster and veteran leadership to our group. Parker’s experience with Head Coach James Borrego will be an invaluable asset to us moving forward as well. We are excited to welcome Tony to Charlotte and for him to continue his Hall-of-Fame career with the Hornets.”

Parker, who turned 36 years old this past May, is past his best days as a basketball player. He’ll likely come off the bench in Charlotte, playing backup to starter Kemba Walker.

More from the Charlotte Observer: “Parker’s relationship with Batum could be constructive, with Batum looking to bounce back from a sub-standard season. Batum is still owed about $75 million remaining on a 5-year, $120 million contract he signed in the summer of 2016.”

Parker appeared in 55 games with San Antonio during the 2017-18 season, averaging 7.7 points and 3.5 assists in 19.5 minutes per game. The French native joins Charlotte after spending the past 17 seasons in San Antonio where he was originally drafted 28th overall in the 2001 NBA Draft. Parker holds career averages of 15.8 points, 5.7 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game in 1,198 regular-season contests. The 6-2 guard has received All-NBA honors four times in his career (2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014) and has been named an NBA All-Star six times (2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014). Parker is the Spurs all-time leader in assists and ranks third among active players in the NBA with 6,829 career assists.

The 17-year NBA veteran ranks sixth in NBA history in playoff games played at 226 (second among active players: LeBron James, 239) and ranks fifth in NBA Playoffs history in total assists with 1,143 (second among active players: LeBron James: 1,687). Parker was a member of four NBA Championship teams in San Antonio (2003, 2005, 2007, 2014) and was named the 2007 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player. Parker joins the Hornets as one of only four players in NBA history to total 4,000 or more points and 1,000 or more assists in the postseason (Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James).

Parker has enjoyed a decorated international career. He played in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics for Team France and won a 2013 FIBA Eurobasket Gold Medal alongside fellow Charlotte teammate Nicolas Batum.

Charlotte Hornets President of Basketball Operations & General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced today that the team has acquired center Bismack Biyombo and two second-round draft picks from the Orlando Magic.

In a three-team trade with the Orlando Magic and Chicago Bulls, Charlotte received center Bismack Biyombo and two future second-round picks in the 2019 and 2020 NBA Drafts while sending Timofey Mozgov to the Magic and Julyan Stone to the Bulls.

Additionally, Orlando received guard Jerian Grant from Chicago in the deal.

Biyombo played in all 82 regular-season games with Orlando last season (25 starts), averaging 5.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and a team-high 1.2 blocks in 18.2 minutes per contest. With 95 blocked shots in 2017-18, he ranked 19th in the NBA. Biyombo scored in double figures 14 times, including a career-high 21 points at Washington on Jan. 12. He also recorded seven double-doubles last season.

The seventh-year center began his NBA career in Charlotte after being selected by Sacramento in the first round (seventh overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft and sent to Charlotte in a draft night trade. Biyombo has appeared in 529 career NBA regular-s‎eason games (210 starts) with Charlotte, Toronto and Orlando, averaging 5.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 20.9 minutes per game, while shooting .513 (992-1933) from the floor. He has also played in 23 career NBA playoff contests (11 starts), averaging 5.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 24.1 minutes per game.

Biyombo, who played for Charlotte from 2011-14, remains fifth in Hornets history in career blocks (443) and blocks per game (1.6), and ranks seventh in career offensive rebounds (571).

Mozgov was acquired by the Hornets in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets on July 6, 2018. Mozgov holds career averages of 6.8 points and 4.9 rebounds in 18.0 minutes per game over the course of eight NBA seasons with the New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets.

Stone (6-6, 200) has played in the NBA for four seasons with career averages of 1.1 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. He went undrafted in 2011, but signed with the Denver Nuggets as a free agent and made his NBA debut on Jan. 11, 2012. Stone has also seen time with the Toronto Raptors (2013-14), and most recently with the Hornets, where he played in 23 games in the 2017-18 season. He also has G League experience with the Idaho Stampede, Iowa Energy and Greensboro Swarm.

Hornets sign rookie Devonte` Graham

The Charlotte Hornets have signed rookie guard Devonte’ Graham.

The Hornets acquired the rights to Graham, the 34th overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft, from the Atlanta Hawks in a draft night trade. Graham, a 6-2 guard from Kansas, was the 2017-18 Big 12 Player of the Year and a consensus First Team All-American after averaging 17.3 points, 7.2 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 37.8 minutes in 39 games played as a senior at Kansas. He led the Big 12 and ranked ninth nationally in minutes played, ranked second in the Big 12 and sixth nationally in assists, ranked second in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.6) and ranked third in the Big 12 in scoring. The native of Raleigh, North Carolina, set school single-season records for total assists (282) and minutes played (1,474), and was a finalist for the Naismith Trophy, Wooden Award and Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award.

Graham concluded his four-year career with the Jayhawks ranked second in school history in minutes played (4,498), second in three-point field goals (296), fifth in assists (632), seventh in steals (197), 11th in three-point percentage (.409) and 13th in scoring (1,750). During his four seasons, Kansas won four Big 12 regular-season titles and two Big 12 Tournaments and reached three NCAA Tournament Elite Eights and one Final Four.

The Charlotte Hornets today acquired a 2019 second-round draft pick and cash considerations from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for the draft rights to Hamidou Diallo, the 45th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

The Hornets acquired Diallo’s rights, along with center Timofey Mozgov, a 2021 second-round draft pick and cash considerations, from the Brooklyn Nets earlier today in exchange for Dwight Howard.

Diallo (6-5, 198), was originally selected by the Brooklyn Nets with the 45th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The Kentucky product started all 37 games as a redshirt freshman and averaged 10.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 24.8 minutes per game and scored in double figures in 16 games.

A native of Queens, N.Y., Diallo represented the U.S. in the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup and 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

The Charlotte Hornets have acquired center Timofey Mozgov, the draft rights to Hamidou Diallo (45th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft), a 2021 second-round draft pick and cash considerations from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for center Dwight Howard.

According to multiple reports, the Nets will likely buy out Howard’s contract. After that, Howard may sign with the Wizards.

UPDATE: The Nets have waived Howard.

An eight-year NBA veteran, Mozgov has played in 454 career games (273 starts) for the New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets with career averages of 6.8 points and 4.9 rebounds in 18.0 minutes per game. The 7-1 center was a member of Cleveland’s NBA Championship team in 2015-16. In his lone season with the Nets in 2017-18, Mozgov appeared in 31 games (13 starts) and averaged 4.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per contest.

Howard originally joined the Hornets on June 20, 2017, in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks. He played in and started 81 games in Charlotte, averaging 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds in 30.4 minutes per game.

The Charlotte Hornets have declined to give Treveon Graham and Marcus Paige qualifying offers, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations & General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Both players will become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

Graham, a 6-5 guard/forward from Virginia Commonwealth, appeared in 90 games for the Hornets during the last two seasons (2016-17 and 2017-18), averaging 3.7 points and 1.6 rebounds in 13.8 minutes per game. He was originally signed by Charlotte as a free agent on July 26, 2016.

Paige signed a two-way contract with Charlotte on Aug. 2, 2017. In 2017-18, the 6-1 guard from North Carolina appeared in five games with the Hornets, averaging 2.4 points, 0.8 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 5.6 minutes per contest. He also appeared in 46 games (39 starts) for the Hornets G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, averaging 15.2 points, 4.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 32.6 minutes per game.

Should the Hornets trade Kemba Walker?

The Hornets are going nowhere fast. They get big production from Kemba Walker, but Dwight Howard is on his way out, and the rest of the squad is mostly supporting cast material. (A healthy Nic Batum can be excellent. But anyway:) Should the Hornets trade Walker? Here’s the Charlotte Observer with some opinion:

Next season will be the last on Kemba’s contract. He will make $12 million, which is to the NBA what $8 an hour is to the rest of North Carolina. He is a blue-light special bargain. He never will be again.

If the Hornets don’t trade him, they could lose him after next season. He can walk, and his employer gets nothing.

If the Hornets retain Kemba, he presumably will insist on a five-year contract. No other team can sign him to more than four. And he will want huge money, Nic Batum money, and he has earned it. The Hornets signed Batum to a five-year $120 million contract.

Full article

The Charlotte Hornets have acquired the draft rights to forward Miles Bridges (12th overall pick) from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for the draft rights to guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (11th overall pick) and two future second-round draft picks during tonight’s 2018 NBA Draft.

Bridges, a 6-7 forward from Michigan State, was a unanimous 2017-18 All-Big Ten First Team selection and he also earned 2017-18 consensus Second Team All-American honors. He led Michigan State in scoring in scoring (17.0 ppg), ranked second in rebounding (7.0 rpg) and third in assists (2.7 apg) during the 2017-18 campaign. Following his sophomore campaign, he was a finalist for the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award, given to the top men’s collegiate small forward, and a top-10 finalist for the Naismith National Player of the Year. He was the first Michigan State freshman or sophomore player to average at least 17.0 points per game since Shawn Respert in 1992-93.

As a freshman in 2016-17, the Flint, Mich. native was the Big Ten Freshman of the year after averaging 16.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 28 contests. He was the only Division-I freshman in the nation in the last 25 years to average at least 16.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists and return for his sophomore season.

The Charlotte Hornets have named Chris Kroeger the team’s new radio play-by-play broadcaster.

A Charlotte native and local sports radio talk show host, Kroeger hosted the show “Prime Time” on Hornets flagship station WFNZ these past four years.

He has also been a member of the team’s radio broadcasts for the past three seasons, working as the pregame show host and sideline reporter.

Kroeger is taking the place of Steve Martin, whose legendary career ended in retirement after the 2017-18 season. Martin’s NBA broadcasting career lasted 30 years.

“We are thrilled to have Chris join the Charlotte Hornets on a full-time basis as our new radio play-by-play broadcaster,” said Hornets President and Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield. “Chris is a very talented broadcaster who brings a wide array of skills to our organization, while also being extremely passionate and knowledgeable about both our team and the NBA. He has cultivated a tremendous audience at WFNZ – one that shares his enthusiasm about Hornets basketball – and his joining our team only strengthens our relationship with our flagship station. I know the fans of Charlotte are looking forward to his expanded role as the new ‘voice of the Hornets.’”

“As someone that grew up in Charlotte, my earliest and greatest memories as a sports fan came at the Charlotte Coliseum and watching the Hornets,” said Kroeger. “Steve Martin narrated so many of those memories on radio and television. It truly is the opportunity of a lifetime to be his successor and to broadcast a new era of Hornets basketball for the next generation of fans. I can’t thank WFNZ enough for allowing me to build and connect with Charlotte sports fans over the last few years and I’m excited to continue to grow that relationship with the Hornets.”

“We’re excited to see Chris grow with one of our finest partners,” said Matt Hanlon, Vice President, Market Manager for Entercom Charlotte. “There’s no one more qualified and passionate to represent the Hornets.”

Entering the 2017-18 season, the Hornets and WFNZ agreed to a new multi-year deal for WFNZ to continue as the team’s flagship radio station.

Charlotte Hornets President of Basketball Operations & General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced today the team has named James Borrego head coach. Borrego becomes the 11th head coach in franchise history.

“We are thrilled to have James join our franchise,” said Kupchak. “He brings a wealth of experience and a strong track record of player development from his time as a coach in San Antonio, New Orleans and Orlando. He has been a part of teams that have ascended to the highest levels of success in our league and understands what it takes to win in the NBA. James is considered one of the NBA’s most well-regarded assistant coaches and it’s great to have him as part of our team. I look forward to working with him in the years to come.”

Borrego, 40, joins the Hornets after spending the last three seasons as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs under Head Coach Gregg Popovich.

The Albuquerque, New Mexico, native began his NBA career as an assistant video coordinator with San Antonio during the 2003-04 season. Borrego spent seven seasons with the Spurs, ascending to the role of assistant coach. In 2010, he left San Antonio for New Orleans where he served two seasons as an assistant coach (2010-12) under Monty Williams. Borrego then joined Jacque Vaughn’s staff with the Orlando Magic and served three seasons under Vaughn from 2012-15. Borrego gained his initial head coaching experience when he served as Orlando’s interim head coach for the final 30 games of the 2014-15 campaign after Vaughn was dismissed. He returned to the Spurs as an assistant coach in 2015.

“I’m very excited to serve as the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets,” said Borrego. “I want to thank Michael Jordan, Mitch Kupchak and Buzz Peterson for this opportunity. I’m confident in the coaching foundation I’ve had the opportunity to develop during my time in San Antonio, Orlando and New Orleans, and I cannot wait to get to work in Charlotte.”

In his 15 seasons in the NBA, Borrego has been a part of staffs that have led teams to the playoffs 11 different times in his stints in San Antonio and New Orleans. As a member of the Spurs, Borrego has been a part of two NBA Championship teams (2005 and 2007) and has been to four Western Conference Finals.

Prior to his coaching experience in the NBA, Borrego served two seasons (2001-03) as an assistant coach at the University of San Diego, his alma mater. Additionally, Borrego played three seasons collegiately for the Toreros and was named to the West Coast Conference All-Academic Team as a senior in 2000-01.

The general rule is, any coach who works as an assistant to Gregg Popovich is probably a good coach. And usually winds up getting offers from other teams fairly quickly. Well, the Hornets have a new GM, and need a new head coach. Here’s the Charlotte Observer with the latest:

The Charlotte Hornets will act quickly to interview San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina for their head-coaching opening, as soon as the Spurs season is complete.

A source familiar the situation said Messina will interview as early as the middle of next week, if the Spurs are eliminated by the Golden State Warriors by then. Ettore coached the Spurs in Thursday’s loss to the Warriors, as head coach Gregg Popovich mourned the death of his wife, Erin.

The Spurs trail the best-of-7 series 3-0. Game 4 is Sunday in San Antonio. A possible Game 5 is Tuesday in Oakland, Calif. It’s yet to be determined when Popovich would rejoin the team.

Full article

Hornets fire coach Steve Clifford

Charlotte Hornets President of Basketball Operations & General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced today that the team has relieved Steve Clifford of his head coaching duties.

“I want to thank Coach Clifford for his contributions to the Hornets,” said Kupchak. “I know he has worked incredibly hard on behalf of the organization and we wish him the best moving forward. The search for a new coach will begin immediately.”

Clifford was named Charlotte head coach on May 29, 2013. He finished with a regular-season record of 196-214 (.478 winning percentage). Charlotte qualified for the NBA Playoffs in 2013 and 2016. The Hornets finished the 2017-18 campaign with a 36-46 record.

Per the Charlotte Observer, “Clifford acknowledged Wednesday that this season’s Hornets failed to improve over the course of the season, as his previous teams did, and that the group lacked the “spirit” of previous teams on his watch. Clifford said he had a say in every player acquisition that assembled this roster, so he took responsibility for its failure.”

More from the Observer: “Clifford’s job performance was complicated this season by a health crisis: He missed 5 ½ weeks of the season treating severe headaches related to sleep deprivation. Working with a neurologist, Clifford has retrained himself to sleep at least 6 ½ hours a night; previously he wasn’t getting more than five hours of sleep.”

Charlotte Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan announced today that the team has named Mitch Kupchak President of Basketball Operations & General Manager.

Kupchak, who brings more than 30 years of NBA front office experience to Charlotte, including 17 seasons as an NBA General Manager, will be responsible for leading the organization’s day-to-day 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,” 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.”

“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 joins the Hornets after a very distinguished and successful career as a front office executive and player with the Los Angeles Lakers. He began working in the team’s front office in 1986 under two NBA Hall-of-Famers: legendary NBA executive Jerry West and Bill Sharman, the first person to win a championship as a player, coach and executive. Kupchak was named general manager in 2000, serving in that capacity for 17 seasons. During Kupchak’s tenure as general manager, the Lakers won four NBA Championships and six Western Conference Championships, posting a 747-607 (.552) regular-season record and winning 63 percent (111-66) of their postseason contests.

Dwight Howard suspended due to techs

Charlotte Hornets center Dwight Howard has been suspended one game without pay for receiving his 16th technical foul of the 2017-18 season, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

Under NBA rules, a player or coach is automatically suspended without pay for one game once he receives his 16th technical foul during a regular season. For every two additional technical fouls received during that regular season, the player or coach will be automatically suspended without pay for an additional game.

Howard received his most recent technical foul with 10:48 remaining in the third quarter of the Hornets’ 111-105 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on March 21 at Barclays Center. Howard will serve his suspension March 22 when the Hornets play host to the Memphis Grizzlies at Spectrum Center.

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