Tag:Rich Cho
Posted on: June 23, 2011 4:00 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Report: Bucks, Bobcats in 'serious talks'

Posted by Matt Moore

From Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer
There are definitely serious talks going on between the Charlotte Bobcats and Milwaukee Bucks. Don't know all the particulars yet, but it sounds like the Bobcats could end up with the 10th pick and maybe send No. 19 to Milwaukee.
via Inside the NBA: Bobcats-Bucks talks serious.

Particulars aren't available yet but Bonnell mentions several veteran players. It would appear that without a 2012 pick, the Bobcats and new GM Rich Cho are making a move to obtain more picks in this draft and get them high. Milwaukee has been rumored to be talking to Houston about moving down as well. It's clear the Bucks don't feel they can get a value pick at the 10 spot that fills a need for them and are looking to move back for a cheaper selection.

The Bobcats could theoretically end up with back to back selections. They'd have their pick of several players they've targeted in that range including Marcus Morris, Alec Burks, and Bismack Biyombo who worked out yesterday in Charlotte and impressed the coaching staff.

Rich Cho appears to be trying to start out his second NBA GM gig in Charlotte with a bang.
Posted on: June 14, 2011 12:59 am
Edited on: June 14, 2011 9:17 am
 

Rich Cho hired as Bobcats GM

Posted by Royce Young

The Bobcats announced that they have hired former Portland general manager Rich Cho as the organization's new GM. Cho replaces Rod Higgins as the team's GM, with Higgins moving up to President of Basketball Operations.

Cho got his start in basketball management with the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise, eventually assuming the No. 2 role behind Sam Presti before taking the Trail Blazers position. However, Cho parted ways with the Blazers last month because of what were called "chemistry issues" with owner Paul Allen, 

A smart basketball excecutive like Cho wasn't going to go unemployed for long, though. He was immediately considered a candidate in New York after Donnie Walsh didn't come to an agreement with the Knicks. The Bobcats position wasn't really open but evidently Michael Jordan put in a call pretty quickly to swoop up Cho.

Cho's known for his analytical approach to the game. He was an engineer and a lawyer before moving into NBA front offices. He was responsible for contract negotiations, salary cap and Collective Bargaining Agreement matters, player contracts and all player personnel issues.

Cho is a native of the Pacific Northwest and a member of the Washington State Bar, a graduate of Pepperdine Law School and achieved his undergraduate at Washington State University.

“He has a unique set of skills that I don’t possess,” Higgins told the Charlotte Observer. “His analytical mind is a big plus for us. His legal background is a big plus for us."

Cho of course has a connection to the Bobcats having negotiated with Higgins at the trade deadline last season. The Blazers acquired Gerald Wallace for Joel Pryzbilla, Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks and two draft picks. Higgins must've come away impressed. At least someone was.


Posted on: June 6, 2011 7:57 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 8:15 pm
 

Blazers president Larry Miller denies GM rumors

Portland Trail Blazers president Larry Miller denies rumors concerning his team's open GM position. Posted by Ben Golliver. larry-miller

DALLAS -- Rumors are still swirling around the Portland Trail Blazers' vacant GM position, but team president Larry Miller continued to insist on Monday that his team hasn't begun the formal search process to find a replacement for Rich Cho, who was fired in May.

"I just want to make it clear that all this speculation about meetings today and all this other stuff is absolutely not true," Miller said. "None of it is true. [Owner] Paul [Allen] is still out of the country. I’m in Dallas. There are no meetings that are going on and, again, our focus right now is on the draft.

"We haven’t compiled a list. We haven’t really started to go through a process of looking for a candidate, so any of the rumors that are out there are just that: rumors. Because they are not true."

Rumors surfaced on Monday morning that the Blazers had had internal conversations about possibly bringing back former GM Kevin Pritchard, who was fired last summer.

"I can say to you that anyone who has been here and been in that role before is not being considered," Miller said.

He went on to specifically rule out former GM Kevin Pritchard, former Vice President of Basketball Operations Tom Penn and former executives Mark Warkentien -- now with the New York Knicks -- and John Nash.

While he was at it, Miller also denied rumors that the team made contact with GM candidates or their agents before parting ways with Cho. "It's not true," he said. "We hadn't put any feelers out at all." 

Miller insisted that any talk with potential replacements has been incoming rather than outgoing.

"I’ve gotten a number of calls -- either agents or people who are interested directly -- but we haven’t spent any time reaching out to anybody at this point. Our position still is that we’re in no rush. Right now, our focus is on getting through the draft."

Since announcing Cho's firing, Miller has maintained that the Blazers have "no timetable" for hiring a replacement GM and that it's "possible" the team will enter next season without a new GM in place. Miller repeated that sentiment on Monday, saying that his organization "absolutely" and "unequivocally" plans to enter the NBA Draft, which takes place on June 23, without a full-time GM in place.

Miller remains upbeat heading into the draft process, even without a full-time head of basketball operations in place.

"I’m 100% confident that we’ve got the bases covered that we need to have covered in order to have a good draft," Miller said. "I think we’re in good shape as far as draft preparation is concerned. We’re looking at all the possibilities. Do we stand pat and draft in the positions that we currently have? Do we try to trade to move up? Do we try to make some other trades using our draft picks? I’m confident that on draft day we’ll make the right decision."
Posted on: June 3, 2011 5:11 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 5:28 pm
 

Blazers GM: Can Brandon Roy play 82 games?

Portland Trail Blazers acting GM Chad Buchanan wonders whether guard Brandon Roy can play 82 games next season. Posted by Ben Golliver. brandon-roy-point

The last few months have been nothing short of disorienting for the Portland Trail Blazers.

The team was bounced out of the first round of the playoffs for the third season in a row by the Western Conference's eventual champion: the Dallas Mavericks. The loss was not unexpected, but it was still frustrating, as owner Paul Allen and coach Nate McMillan both seemed dead set on making further progress in the postseason this year.

If the playoffs were frustrating, than the offseason, so far, has been perplexing. GM Rich Cho, on the job for less than a year, was fired without warning. President Larry Miller shifted some deck chairs around, naming director of college scouting Chad Buchanan as Acting GM.

There's no bigger issue facing Buchanan and the Blazers than guard Brandon Roy. Roy went through dual knee surgeries last season and missed a good chunk of the season while rehabbing. But no one, not even Buchanan, apparently, knows what to expect from Roy in the future. 

In an interview with 750 AM in Portland, Buchanan admitted that he wasn't certain Roy can make it through an entire season.
We all recognize -- if you watch Game 3 and Game 4 of our playoff series -- that Brandon Roy has still got some game. We are very conscious of that. People have counted him out, but I think we all recognize that Brandon can play at a high level. Whether it's for 82 games or not? I think that's something that Brandon is still trying to figure out with his body and where he's at. I think, for our coaches and for Nate, we're trying to figure out best how to utilize him knowing his health. I think we're both asking: How is this going to work moving forward?

Brandon Roy has meant the world to this organization, he's helped resurrect our franchise, we're very appreciative of that. We have not had any discussions with Brandon about anything since the season ended. We let our guys decompress and get away from the game. We'll start to re-engage with Brandon here, making sure that he's on course for this summer to do the things he needs to do to be ready for next season.

With most players in his physical condition, the best course would simply be the patient one: wait and see what he can handle and how he performs, manage his minutes and keep a careful eye on his progress.

The Blazers owe Roy more than $68 million over the next four seasons, so there is a clear urgency factor at play, especially among fans. With starters Marcus Camby and Andre Miller winding down, and new arrival Gerald Wallace with just a few more years of prime play, the feeling is that the Blazers need a lot more from Roy than he's capable of giving.

Given his health and contract, though, he's essentially untradeable. The Blazers have another capable two guard on the roster in Wesley Matthews, but he lacks Roy's starpower. The Blazers don't have many other choices. If there's an amnesty clause they'll likely consider using it on Roy, but the temptation to hang on and hope will be very strong because of the lack of other options. Roy is committed to continuing his career, so retirement and medical retirement are out of the question.

Buchanan's honesty here reveals just how directionless this team is right now. Roy was once the pillar of the franchise, a perennial All-Star who could be counted on for consistent, reliable production. Now, even those with the most to gain for hyping him up, are taking a very cautious approach.

Reading between the lines, it could be tough times ahead for Blazers fans.
Posted on: May 25, 2011 3:01 pm
 

Danny Ferry on top of Portland's wishlist?

Posted by Royce Young

As our Ben Golliver pointed out in his terrific piece where he spoke with Blazers president Larry Miller just hours after the organization parted ways with general manager Rich Cho, Portland is planning to take its time choosing the next GM.

They're 0-for-2 with the past couple hires so obviously the franchise is looking for some stablility. But no doubt the powers that be are assembling their list of potential candidates to fill the position. And according to the San Antonio Express-News, former Cleveland GM Danny Ferry is sitting right near the top.

During his five years in Cleveland, Ferry worked for a billionaire owner with a big ego, Dan Gilbert. He also dealt with a superstar, LeBron James, who had a team of sycophants behind the scenes second-guessing and undercutting the GM. Still, Ferry built a team that made it to one NBA Finals and posted the NBA’s best regular-season record in back-to-back seasons.

That’s not exactly a mirror image of Allen’s operation in Portland — the sycophants there work for Allen, not a player — but it’s close enough to prepare Ferry for what he would face if he were to end up as Cho’s successor.

That really could not have been put better. Clearly there are some issues with upper management and ownership in Portland. Kevin Pritchard and assistant GM Tom Penn butted heads with the Blazer brass before Cho couldn't co-exist. So finding a "fit" is very key. And not only does Ferry have experience in that field, he comes from a Spurs organization that does every by the book and a Cavs organization where he experienced a lot of outside influences while doing his job.

(Currently, Ferry is San Antonio's vice president of basketball operations.)

In all honesty, I think Ferry would be a tremendous hire for the Blazers. Managing people is as much a part of a GM's job as anything else and Ferry is pretty solid in that deparment. As a former player he understands chemistry and what it takes for a team to function properly. He was a terrific role player in his NBA career and I'm sure he'd understand his role well in Portland.

One hangup though: Ferry would again be coming from the Spurs organization. Cho came from the Thunder, a franchise that is run in very similar fashion to the Spurs. Now Cho and Ferry are clearly different people with different personalities, but in team of organizational structure, their backgrounds are similar.

Obviously Ferry isn't going to be the only guy on the list. Owner Paul Allen is looking for someone to "connect" with him. In other words, do exactly what he says, no questions asked. With Ferry though, it would take some courtship from the Blazers to convince him. Having fired two GMs in less than a year doesn't exactly encourage the best and brightest to sign up. Unless of course the price is right.
Posted on: May 24, 2011 3:27 am
Edited on: May 24, 2011 3:38 am
 

Chad Buchanan takes acting GM reins for Blazers

Posted by Ben Golliver. chad-buchanan

PORTLAND, Ore. --  So, who’s next?

The Portland Trail Blazers have fired three talented executives in a little more than a year, canning assistant GM Tom Penn, former GM Kevin Pritchard and Pritchard’s replacement, Rich Cho.

Despite that carnage, the basketball operations staff still has plenty of pieces thanks to a unique group dynamic that features two assistant GMs – Bill Branch and Steve Rosenberry, hired by Cho -- and two directors of scouting – Chad Buchanan and Mike Born, installed into their positions by Pritchard. Blazers coach Nate McMillan and president Larry Miller also contribute to basketball decisions, as does owner Paul Allen, who has rightfully earned a reputation for meddling.

With all of those cooks in the kitchen, determining a chain of command can be tricky, if not fruitless. However, the Blazers did announce one official organizational move other than Cho’s firing on Monday by designating Buchanan as Acting GM in Cho’s absence.

“I’ve never really set a GM position or anything like that as a goal,” the typically aww-shucks Buchanan told CBSSports.com on Monday night from Minnesota, where he’s scouting in advance of the NBA Draft. "Whatever is on my plate, I’ll put my full effort into it. I didn’t set out to want to become a GM when I was hired by the Blazers. I just wanted to win a championship. That has not changed.”

Despite all the drama and internal political nightmares, Buchanan, 38, is as fresh-faced as he was seven years ago when he first joined the Blazers. After playing two sports at Simpson College, in Iowa, he began working his way up through the scouting and coaching ranks, including stops in the ABA and at Drake University.

The task facing Buchanan is a large one. McMillan has made it known he expects roster changes, particularly in the backcourt. The team has already committed major money to forward LaMarcus Aldridge and guard Brandon Roy, but Roy is dealing with ongoing knee issues. The Blazers also face a decision on oft-injured center Greg Oden, who is a franchise player this summer.

Buchanan said he wasn’t sure how many moves it would take to get Portland into a position to contend for a title after three straight first round playoff exits. “You have to have some cornerstones that we’re building around.  We feel like LaMarcus is definitely that and we’re still evaluating who might be another pillar for us. As far as how many moves away are we, that’s a really tough question to answer. Our team has needs. Whether we can address that with one move or three moves, it’s hard to give you an exact number of how you fix what your roster needs.”

While Blazers president Larry Miller said that Cho struggled developing “chemistry” with owner Paul Allen, raising questions about Cho’s communication style, Buchanan said he appreciated the style Cho brought to the organization. “He allowed you to do your job. He listens. He’s a great listener. He stays out of your way. He wants to hear your opinions as a scout, that’s all you can ask for.”

Miller said the team has no timetable on hiring a full-time replacement for Cho but admitted that the organization could enter training camp without hiring someone. He was vague, however, on whether Buchanan would be considered as a full-time candidate. "Once we determine what the criteria are and what the qualifications are that we are looking for. If any of those guys meet the criteria or those qualifications then they will be considered for sure."

While the organization's criteria are unclear, Buchanan's skillset is fairly obvious. He's a basketball talent evaluator, a skilled communicator and an endlessly loyal employee. The next co-worker to speak ill of Buchanan publicly will be the first. 

He's perhaps best known in Portland for his in-depth scouting report breakdowns and encyclopedic knowledge of players’ strengths, weaknesses and tendencies. For years, he's been tasked with briefing the media on the players that the Blazers bring to Portland for pre-draft group workouts, and he seems to relish the opportunity to share his year's worth of work.

Asked to break down his own strengths and weaknesses as a potential GM, Buchanan didn’t hesitate.

“My strengths are my overall work ethic and love for the game. I strongly believe in valuing everyone around you. That includes players, coaches, staff. I think everybody has to feel invested and part of what the ultimate goal is.”

Clearly, though, Buchanan is facing a major adjustment period from scout to GM, which he openly acknowledges. “I think I have a strong sense of emotional connection to people, which can also be a weakness for me. I find that trading players can be hard for me because you get attached to players and families. You see them from a human side. Sometimes maybe that’s not a good thing from an executive standpoint, that you have a human connection to people that you’re eventually going to have to make tough decisions on.”

Buchanan also noted that, unlike Penn and Cho, he is not a salary cap wizard. “I’ve never really focused a ton on the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The rules of the salary cap. I have a general understanding of a lot of issues but not the deep layers of it. It’s not something that I’m totally or completely familiar with.”

As Cho was the team’s point man on salary cap and CBA issues, his departure leaves a fairly large hole heading into draft season and free agency. It's unclear how that situation will be resolved in the short-term.

The constant turnover in Portland’s management ranks is enough to turn even the most optimistic fans cynical, but Buchanan did his best to stick to what has got him this far. “I go to bed every night dreaming about what it would be like to win a championship,” Buchanan said. “For this city and for our owner and for our players and coaches. It’s something that drives me every day.”

Still, his first take upon hearing about his short-term (for now) promotion was empathy for his predecessor. “The first emotion is that you feel for Rich,” Buchanan said. “A good person who lost his job today. Has a great family. At the end of the day, we’ve got to regroup, collect ourselves, and find a way to get ourselves moving forward.”

Or, as Jay-Z might say: On to the next one.

Posted on: May 23, 2011 7:12 pm
Edited on: May 23, 2011 9:40 pm
 

Blazers President Larry Miller defends Cho firing

Posted by Ben Golliver

PORTLAND, Ore – For the second time in less than twelve months, the Portland Trail Blazers have parted ways with a respected general manager. On the night of the 2010 NBA Draft, word surfaced that the team had agreed to part ways with former General Manager Kevin Pritchard. On Monday, the team announced that it was doing the same with his successor – Rich Cho – roughly one month before the 2011 NBA Draft.

Cho, known for his salary cap acumen and analytical approach, made two moves of substance during his tenure, trading away guard Jerryd Bayless and trading for forward Gerald Wallace. He had meticulously planned his draft war room structure for months, turning a conference room into a think tank with flat screen televisions and white boards adorning all the walls.

He never got a chance to use it.

“I think the big issue was chemistry between him and the owner,” Blazers president Larry Miller told CBSSports.com. “They were just never able to click. Rich is a smart guy, a really nice guy, brings some talents to the table but I think if the chemistry isn’t right, it’s hard for it to work.”

Portland’s owner, of course, is billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. In his memoir, Idea Man, released a little more than one month ago, Allen writes: “After replacing Kevin Pritchard (who struggled in the managerial parts of his job) with Rich Cho, we believe that we've found a leadership team that can get us back to the Finals."

And, then, Monday’s abrupt news.

“There wasn’t an incident,” Miller maintained. “I think we learned from last year, that sometimes it’s better when you know something, to move sooner than later. If we know this is not going to work, let’s not drag it out. Let’s not put it off, let’s just go ahead and move on it now.”

Cho declined interview requests, but did release a statement through the team's public relations department. "Obviously it's a difficult day, but I want to truly thank Paul Allen and Larry Miller for the opportunity they gave me here in Portland," Cho said. "I also want to thank the fans, players, coaches, business office staff and especially my basketball operations staff who have supported me along the way. I feel good about the work we've done here and I know the Trail Blazers are headed in the right direction."

Asked for Cho's reaction to the news, Miller said simply: "Rich was shocked."

While Cho kept a very low profile in Portland, rarely making public statements, at least two rifts emerged during his tenure. First, an apparent disagreement in how to handle guard Brandon Roy, who made critical comments about his playing time and role both during the season and during the playoffs. Second, a difference in public strategy in terms of handling injured center Greg Oden. While Miller said publicly that the team would likely extend Oden a qualifying offer this summer shortly after he underwent microfracture surgery, Cho remained tight-lipped, not offering a public statement until weeks later.

Miller said Monday that neither issue figured into the decision to part ways with Cho.

“I don’t know whether there were philosophical issues,” Miller said. “The whole deal about Brandon … that really didn’t play into this decision. That was something that was talked about with Rich about how we should handle that around Brandon. We kind of agreed that the best thing was for Rich to talk to him and let him know if something happened again, there would be a suspension. That was the extent of that. It wasn’t like there was any issue around that.”

As for Oden’s future, Miller said the management team was and is in lockstep. “I think we were on the same page, although I may have expressed it one way and Rich may have expressed it another way. From an organization perspective we were on the same page. If Greg does the things that we need him to do or that we expect him to do, then we are going to issue a qualifying offer to him. Rich may have just said the same thing differently than the way I said it. The reality is, even up to Mr. Allen, we’re on the same page.”

That timing of the firing and the quickness with which it came left many Blazers fans scratching their heads and others outraged at organizational incompetence. Indeed, Miller’s explanation about a chemistry rift is a 180 degree turn from previous statements. The team had publicly vouched for Cho’s ability to hit it off with Allen during his job interview and officials had regularly spoken about the new management group’s relationship together.

Miller acknowledged those concerns but chalked it up to a casualty of doing business. “I can understand how fans and people would say, ‘But you guys said this was the right guy.’ The reality is we thought this was the right guy or we wouldn’t have hired him. The fit is just not right. I’ve seen this in other business situations where I’ve worked before. You’ve hired someone at a senior level and you think that the skillset and they’re smart people, they have all the right tools to come in and do a job. Then, you hire them at some point into it you realize that they’re not the right person for that job. The difference is that this is a public situation but to me it’s not unusual. This does happen from time to time.”

The Blazers have no timetable for replacing Cho, and Miller noted that it’s “possible” the team enters training camp in the fall without naming a full-time replacement. In the meantime, the team’s Director of College Scouting Chad Buchanan will serve as Interim GM. “I think we feel comfortable with Chad and the rest of the team out there as far as going into the draft is concerned.”

Buchanan, who has worked for the Blazers for seven years, leap-frogs over Cho’s two hand-picked assistant GMs: Bill Branch and Steve Rosenberry. Miller says both men will remain with the team and are still under contract.

“Chad has been around here,” Miller said. “Even though their titles were different, their responsibilities were not that different. They all reported into Rich at the same level. The reporting structure was the same, it was just a difference in title. I wouldn’t say he’s jumping over them.”

Still, the situation is as bad as it looks. A team beset by injuries on the court and drama off of it.

Miller defended his owner from charges of irascibility. “Mr. Allen is determined to get this right. He’s determined to try to build a championship team here. Determined to make sure this team is going to be the best it can possibly be.”

Miller also brushed aside the notion that he’s serving as the de facto GM. “I do have some things I can bring to the table to help with some of those decision but the decisions are going to be driven by the basketball operations staff. I’ll be there to help and assist those guys in any way that I can.”

Whether or not Miller is correct that the team learned from its mistakes, it’s clear the organization’s leadership doesn’t want to be here again.

“We’re going to make sure we take our time and do it right this time,” Miller said.” I don’t want to go through another summer like this.”

Maybe the third time will be the charm.
Posted on: May 23, 2011 4:45 pm
 

Rich Cho pushed for suspension of Brandon Roy

Posted by Royce Young

Two days ago, the seemingly minor story about the Blazers front office pushing for a suspension of Brandon Roy wasn't nearly as interesting. Because two days ago, Rich Cho was still the general manager of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Via The Oregonian, Cho wanted to suspend Roy for public comments he made about playing time. Roy said after a game he played only eight minutes, "There was a point in the first half, and I was thinking 'You better not cry.' I mean, serious. I mean, there was a moment where I felt really sorry for myself. Then I was like, nah, you can't be sorry for yourself. I'm a grown man, but there was a moment there that I felt sorry for myself. Especially when I think I can still help."

The comments look harmless enough to me. But Cho didn't take them that way. Cho wanted to suspend Roy. Earlier in the season Cho had warned the outspoken Roy about making his case for more time through the media after he indicated he and teammate Andre Miller couldn't co-exist.

Cho must've seen these comments as the last straw. After discussions with Nate McMillan and owner Paul Allen, the decision was that Roy would apologize for his comments to the team. Which he did.

Roy responded by scoring 16 points in Game 3 and then 18 points in an all-time Game 4 which featured a crazy 23-point comeback from Portland. While Cho wanted to send a message I guess, Roy had a huge hand in extending the series to six games.

Here's the interesting part of the story though, especially because again, this is two days before Cho and the Blazers parted ways.
Pushing for a suspension was a bold play by Cho. Especially given that the last general manager, Kevin Pritchard, lost his job for thinking on his own. And even though I stone-cold disagree with the idea of suspending Roy for telling the world how he felt, I appreciate that Cho is trying to assert himself in a place that mostly deters it.

The well-placed source said Cho was talked off his initial position by McMillan and owner Paul Allen, who were in agreement that a suspension was neither warranted, nor a welcome distraction for a team down 0-2 to the Mavericks.

Being outranked by Allen is one thing. But the larger issue is whether the need for Allen to step in, and Roy’s subsequent performance, spells trouble for Cho in the big bossman’s eyes moving forward.
It's speculation, but the coincidence is hard to ignore. Cho might not have been doomed when he pushed for a suspension, but with the controlling manner the Blazers ownership runs things, I'm sure it didn't help.
 
 
 
 
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