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After firing Rich Cho, Charlotte Hornets know traits they want in next GM

The Charlotte Hornets are 24-33 and on the verge of failing to reach the playoffs for the second straight season. They fired GM Rich Cho yesterday after he served in that post since 2011 and now are looking for his replacement. While Cho took some steps that moved the franchise forward, he had his share of miscues in the Draft and free agency, as well.

What do the Hornets want in their next GM? And who is on their short list? For answers to both questions, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer caught up with Hornets vice chairman Curtis Polk. Polk has close ties to team owner Michael Jordan — he’s known His Airness for nearly 30 years — and Polk will have a solid say in who the Hornets tab as their next GM:

Asked specifically about former Los Angeles Lakers executive and North Carolina player Mitch Kupchak, who has been tied for the possible opening for weeks, Polk said, “That’s a good name. We don’t know specifically what his level of interest would be.”

Asked what traits the Hornets would look for in the next general manager, Polk said the team doesn’t want to deemphasize the progress Cho made in analytics, but also wants strong networking skills around the NBA.

“We need a strong leader who is well respected in the organization and within the industry,” Polk said. “Someone who can build on the tools Rich (provided): Analytics and also be a great evaluator” of talent.

Polk said that desired skill set includes an ability to adapt with changing times.

“The way basketball has evolved, we have to be careful about (someone who is) too set in their ways. We need to experiment in some regards, (not be saddled with) how basketball was eight years ago or 10 years ago.”

Polk also said his intention is that the Hornets’ next GM would come from outside of the organization. That makes it unlikely that assistant GM Buzz Peterson — who is fulfilling the GM role on an interim basis — will get Cho’s old job.