When the Los Angeles Lakers let Mitch Kupchak go after a 30-year tenure in their front office and nearly two decades as general manager, it was unclear whether the longtime executive would even seek another job with a different NBA team.
For a while, Kupchak seemed content to enjoy life after running a basketball team, being spotted attending his son’s college basketball games for UC Santa Barbara or networking and scouting around Las Vegas Summer League.
But it seems Kupchak has an itch to make the final calls and prove the game hasn’t passed him by that wasn’t scratched by those various semi-retirement activities. And according to Marc Stein of the New York Times, Kupchak now has a chance to run a team again, as the Charlotte Hornets have offered him their general manager job:
The Hornets, who are owned by Michael Jordan, are confident they will soon seal a new contract with Kupchak to take over their basketball operations and are progressing toward a deal, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the negotiations publicly.
The Hornets leaking that they’re “confident” they’ll wrap things up with Kupchak’s contract soon is a strong signal that the former Lakers executive and player will take the job he’s been rumored to be the favorite for over the last few months.
If the Hornets hire Kupchak, it would be his first time running a team that wasn’t the Lakers. And while it will be weird to see him giving gravelly voiced answers to explain a different team’s decisions, he always deserved a second chance to take over a franchise if he wanted one given how much success he had in Los Angeles.
Things may not have ended well for Kupchak in Los Angeles, but he still built four title-winning teams centered around Kobe Bryant. He was far from the only GM around the league to hand out a few bad contracts during the 2016 cap boom, and it will be interesting to see if his approach to building a winner changes in a small market like Charlotte.