Mitch Kupchak, the three-time NBA champion who ran the Charlotte Hornets front office for Michael Jordan, is stepping down, reports Adrian Wojnarowski, and Jeff Peterson, an assistant GM with the Brooklyn Nets is among the leading candidates to replace him.
Among several league executives expected to be considered in the process: New Orleans GM Trajan Langdon, Brooklyn assistant GM Jeff Peterson, Cleveland GM Mike Gansey, Philadelphia GM Elton Brand, and others, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/WckDSYBLBT— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 12, 2024
Peterson joined the Nets in May 2019 just as the team was getting ready for the Clean Sweep that brought Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to Brooklyn. He and fellow assistant GM Andy Birdsong replaced Trajan Langdon, who is also a candidate for the Hornets job. Langdon is currently GM of the New Orleans Pelicans.
As long as a year ago, Nets staffers believed that Peterson, who came to Brooklyn from the Hawks organization would have the inside track when Kupchak eventually stepped down. Peterson, along with two other candidates, Washington’s Travis Schlenk and Sacramento’s Wes Wilcox, are all familiar with one of the Hornets two new owners, Rick Schnall, who was previously a minority owner in Atlanta.
In a profile written by Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic in May 2022, Peterson’s duties were described as including amateur, aka college, scouting and acting as a “sounding board” for Sean Marks on a number of larger issues.
In talking to Vorkunov about his No. 2, Marks extolled Peterson’s skills and personality.
“There are people who can have honest conversations, peer-to-peer — I could have a conversation with the GM, players can talk to players, coaches talk to coaches. Jeff is a rare breed that can talk across platforms,” Marks said. “So he can have a very honest conversation with a player. He’s had that multiple times. Get the message across, he’s not afraid.
“He’ll have the same conversations with coaches. He’ll have the same conversation with the front office. He’ll have the same conversation with our ownership group. So when you’re able to like be true to who you are across all of that and not be afraid. That’s a talent.”
The Hornets, despite their current 11-41 record, are seen as a top NBA job. The team has a number of young players — LaMelo Ball, Brandon Miller, Miles Bridges and Mark Williams — and the organization has embarked on a $275 million renovation of the Spectrum Center and has announced they’re building a $60 million practice facility.
- Sources: Hornets president Mitch Kupchak moving to adviser role - Adrian Wojnarowski - ESPN
- Nets assistant GM Jeff Peterson eyed for Hornets executive position: report ($) - C.J. Holmes - New York Daily News