Posted on: July 20, 2010 6:15 pm
The Hornets are hoping to have a new general manager in place by Wednesday, with Spurs executive Dell Demps their top target, two people familiar with the search told CBSSports.com.
Demps, the Spurs' director of pro player personnel and GM of the team's D-League affiliate, the Austin Toros, also is among the top candidates for the Suns' GM opening under new team president Lon Babby, who was officially installed Tuesday.
The Hornets, who fired GM Jeff Bower last week, have interviewed seven candidates. Team president Hugh Weber, in an interview with CBSSports.com Tuesday, confirmed six of them: Demps, former Trail Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard, former Suns assistant GM David Griffin, Wizards assistant GM Tommy Sheppard, former agent and former Kings assistant GM Jason Levien, and Nuggets vice president of player personnel Rex Chapman. The seventh candidate, Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman, interviewed Tuesday by phone and also is being given heavy consideration for the Phoenix job, a person with knowledge of both searches said.
While the Suns' eventual hire would clearly be subservient to Babby, the Hornets' GM also won't have the final-say cachet that most traditional NBA GM positions offer. Weber, an admitted neophyte when it comes to basketball operations, said he's trying to create a "collaborative, transparent decision-making process" in which he, coach Monty Williams and the new GM would work together on personnel decisions.
"The mission is bigger than any one of us," Weber said. "We're going to be very progressive and mission-oriented in our approach to building an organization. ... We're focused on the mission, not the personality. We're looking for people who are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done."
Weber described the Hornets' situation as "not entirely a rebuilding process," and said it's "a bit of a misnomer" that All-Star point guard Chris Paul has been detached from the team's offseason decisions.
"Chris and I have, through various means, communicated throughout the summer, from the draft to the coaching hire to the GM changes," Weber said. "... Everything that I've heard is that he's on board. The thing that we will do -- myself, our coach and our new GM -- is sit down with him and make sure he's as confident about the changes we're making as we are."
Paul has been quoted this summer as saying that he'd be open to a trade if the Hornets weren't committed to building a championship team. Williams, who could perhaps collaborate most easily on personnel decisions with Demps because they are friends and former teammates, told CBSSports.com during Las Vegas Summer League that he plans to meet personally with Paul to clear the air after the disconcerting reports about Paul's future in New Orleans.
"I want him to feel as excited as I am about where we're going," Williams said.
Posted on: July 17, 2010 11:20 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2010 12:38 am
LAS VEGAS -- In a fast-moving search for a general manager to replace the fired Jeff Bower, Hornets officials have interviewed former Trail Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard, former Suns executive David Griffin and Wizards executive Tommy Sheppard, with the intention of further escalating their search early next week, sources with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com.
Griffin, who left the Suns' front office in the wake of team president Steve Kerr's departure, joins Sheppard, Pritchard and Spurs executive Dell Demps on the list of candidates Hornets president Hugh Weber has spoken with about the job. Demps has met twice with Hornets officials, including having dinner with coach Monty Williams Friday night. Demps and Williams were teammates in San Antonio and have been friends ever since. Sheppard, the top assistant under GM Ernie Grunfeld, is a rising star among NBA execs and was instrumental in quickly and responsibly slashing the Wizards' payroll after the Gilbert Arenas situation last season. Pritchard interviewed for the job Saturday, two people familiar with the Hornets' search told CBSSports.com.
Due to their relationship, Demps is believed to be a prohibitive favorite for the job -- but also is a strong candidate to be installed as the personnel man under incoming Suns president Lob Babby, a former player agent who is scheduled to arrive in Phoenix Monday to be fornally introduced as the team's new head of basketball operations.
The Hornets also have expressed interest in former Trail Blazers execs Kevin Pritchard and Tom Penn and former Kings assistant GM Jason Levien. Also, Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman is expected to be on the Hornets' radar. Weber flew back to New Orleans Sunday, and the Hornets are hoping to have a GM in place by midweek or the end of the week, sources say.