The Hornets have announced that Rod Higgins has stepped down as the team’s President of Basketball Operations, effective immediately. Rich Cho will continue on as General Manager, and take over as head of the team’s basketball operations.
“I would like to thank Rod for his seven years of dedication to this organization,” said Charlotte Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan. “Rod has been a consummate professional throughout his time with the team. Thanks to his hard work and commitment, we have an improved roster and we are poised for success in the future. Rod was of great help to me as I navigated my first four years as majority owner of this franchise. I wish him all the best.”
It’s not obvious right now why the decision was made, or whose decision it was. From the outside, the division of labor between Higgins and Cho was never very clear, so this move at least answers that question. This upcoming offseason is huge for the team, and it’s possible that the pair (and/or Jordan) weren’t able to agree on a plan of attack.
That’s just speculation, though. No matter what, announcing a firing/resignation/whatever this is after midnight, during the NBA Finals, is a strange move.
To say this is bizarre would be an understatement.
— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) June 13, 2014
We’ll keep you updated with more details as they pop up.
Update (06/13/14, 1:41 p.m.): Rick Bonnell reporting from sources that “Higgins was offered a contract but he chose not to accept it.” Sources within the organization also describing the situation between Jordan and Higgins as a “Falling out.” Rich Cho chose not to talk to reporters this afternoon but Coach Clifford was quoted as saying,
“Rich and I have been working together all year. So I don’t see that as being any different. Rich is very organized, on top of things. I know we’ll be prepared for the draft and prepared for free-agency. I don’t see that part being an adjustment at all.”
Update (06/13/14, 1:26 a.m.): Rick Bonnell at The Charlotte Observer doesn’t have too much to add yet, but he’s definitely calling it a firing.