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February 24, 2012

Bobcats general manger Rich Cho on pain and patience of rebuilding

Rod Higgins and Rich Cho, the Charlotte Bobcats’ top two player-personnel executives, say the 4-28 record at All-Star break won’t change their plan: There won’t be some panic move that eats up major salary-cap space or bargains away assets for a quick-fix.

If you’re wondering why they wouldn’t panic, Cho offers a good answer: Because he’s been there, in a remarkably similar circumstance, when he was No. 2 in the front office of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Let him describe, harkening back to the summer of 2007:

“OKC has the best record in the league right now, but people forget how hard it was when we started out that first year of the rebuild. There are a lot of parallels’’ between that and the Bobcats now, Cho described Wednesday.

“We traded Ray Allen (to Boston) and drafted Kevin Durant and Jeff Green. People forget we won only 20 games that year. We had a 14-game losing streak, an 11-game losing streak and an eight-game losing streak. We started out the season 9-36.

“So we go back into the lottery and draft (Russell) Westbrook. And we start out 3-29. We have another 14-game losing streak and an eight-game losing streak and a seven-game losing streak. Wind up the season 23-59.

“So we go back into the lottery and draft James Harden. There’s a whole process and it’s not easy going through this process.’’

Cho’s point: Without a plan and the patience and conviction to stick to it, the Bobcats won’t get markedly better. That plan is about drafting wisely, managing the salary cap and looking for
trades that add draft picks or young prospects.

“Rod and I are definitely on the same page as far as where we are with the team,’’ Cho said. “We’re fortunate to have an owner who is very supportive and on the same page. It’s not easy going through it, but that’s part of the process.’’

What about the criticism in the short run?

“If you don’t have a thick skin, you shouldn’t be in the business,’’ Cho replied.

Much more from Higgins and Cho in Sunday’s Observer about the season so far, coach Paul Silas’s job security, Tyrus Thomas’s struggles and how realistic is it that a big-name free agent would choose to sign with the Bobcats?

Posted by Observer Sports on February 24, 2012 at 11:46 AM | Permalink


In Cho we trust!

Posted by: jiyugh | Feb 24, 2012 12:13:20 PM

If it wasn't for Cho, I wouldn't have much faith in the Bobcats future right now. He helped in a doing a great job with the Thunder. Look at that team now. They are tied for the best record in the NBA and they have a young, talented roster that will around for years to come. If he can even come close to replicating that here in Charlotte, this franchise will have a bright future. And I do remember seeing how bad that Sonics/Thunder team was and questioned why they would trade Ray Allen. Looks like it worked out pretty well for them thus far.

Posted by: PantherDave | Feb 24, 2012 12:27:04 PM

its not so much that he gets credit for what happened with okc because we have no idea what his level of input with presti was.........BUT he was there. he learned SOMETHING right about it.

and regardless, it's better than rod higgins by himself trading expiring contracts for long term dead weight contracts.

we WANT to finish last this year. we might get a durant this draft. we don't have one yet, but we might have some of the other pieces already. and even if we don't get durant and we aren't on the okc projection.........look at philly, indiana, memphis, post tim duncan's prime san antonio, denver.........you build long term contenders this way. draft well and retain and develop guys. trade up not down.

we've been trading down and letting guys walk and not developing our picks. greg oden blows his knee out over and over and over and over and over again and portland keeps taking fliers on him as if he's the only 7 footer out there. meanwhile, we let morrison rot away after his injury without giving him any support on the comeback trail. we let ajinca go even though he was young as hell and dominated the d-league instead of waiting until his body developed.

cho seems to be changing THAT philosophy (or lack of) that we've had. it's exciting to know we have somebody with a brain involved finally.

Posted by: charlottean | Feb 24, 2012 12:38:38 PM

Let's see how long Cho lasts, with two guys above him who have egos the size of Texas, think they're God's gift to running a professional basketball team, and can't get out of their own way in the draft.

Posted by: scratchy1 | Feb 24, 2012 1:19:39 PM

Just don't freaking draft another ACC player like Bob Johnson did to try to bring in collegiate fans. Worst mistake the franchise ever made.

Posted by: Season Ticket Holder | Feb 24, 2012 1:23:36 PM

@PantherDave...I feel the exact same way. He's proven so let's see if it works according to his blueprint.

Posted by: Bobcat Terry | Feb 24, 2012 1:38:37 PM

I believe that patience is a virtue. Real fans don't give up on their teams. I haven't much been to many games this year. But I do watch most of the Bobcats on TV, even through the blowouts. We have too see the big pic, Thomas I think he got rich and quick but still he needs more time then Silas has been offering him. Biz provides less offense with Thomas off the floor and he fumbles the ball. No denying his defensive presence he will be a force. Kemba has been doing pretty good despite the critics this is a young team with no major star of course u gonna struggle. I think we need to pick up 2 good talented guys. I still would prefer a allstar, but I understand the contract situation. Well let's hope for at least the top 3 pick. We need an offensive gifted draft class and demolish these dead weight contracts.

Posted by: tbird | Feb 24, 2012 1:49:16 PM

Let's see how long Cho lasts, with two guys above him who have egos the size of Texas, think they're God's gift to running a professional basketball team, and can't get out of their own way in the draft

I agree with you scratchy1 and really question Cho's statement that Higgins is on the same page. Higgins is Jordan's Mr. Insider. The best thing for Bobcat fans is that Jordan spends time working on his prenup for his young Cuban fiancee and lets Cho do what has to be done. Silas is safe until we get enough pieces in place that we need a teacher/coach and then he and his clipboard cronies are gone or should be.

Posted by: TrueBBallFan | Feb 24, 2012 2:05:47 PM

Cho may be the only hope we have here, but it still depends on making great draft picks. Biz looks like he will work out but he'll always be an undersized Center without the skills to be a PF. Kemba has moxie, and he'll get better, but NOBODY fixes a jump shot that broken at this level. Plus, Kemba has never been a true PG. Gotta hope we hit it big with our first pick, and possibly get another if we trade DJ closer to the deadline.

Posted by: Bassman | Feb 24, 2012 2:15:00 PM

He basically reiterated everything the INTELLIGENT basketball fans here have been saying for months.

Posted by: Buckley | Feb 24, 2012 2:26:31 PM

I agree that without Cho, my confidence in the Bobcats front office would be non-existent...

Posted by: C.Bax | Feb 24, 2012 2:28:26 PM

This year is irrelevant other than player devlopment. Amazing how many don't understand that.

Posted by: Bobcat Tommy | Feb 24, 2012 2:34:09 PM









Posted by: Rahshon Gamble | Feb 24, 2012 2:37:28 PM

If I was able to pull these trades my next step would be to trade
Cory Maggette to the thunder for
a second round draft or
to any team for a second round draft pick
if you cant find any picks, just keep him

Posted by: Rahshon Gamble | Feb 24, 2012 2:51:15 PM

I would say amesty him but why lose money, when you could just get draft picks

Posted by: Rahshon Gamble | Feb 24, 2012 2:52:59 PM

bobcat tommy.. you cant be freaking serious.. NOBODY.. I Mean NOBODY wants Borris Meow!!!! quit smoking crack.. ur proposal is basically trading hendo or ellis.. why in the world would golden st make that trade.. idiot.

Posted by: me | Feb 24, 2012 3:28:23 PM

I don't see a Kevin Durant in this draft. Not sure he can repeat the OKC draft luck here.

Posted by: Jeff | Feb 24, 2012 3:44:45 PM

All they need to do is let Najera contract expire as no one wants or needs him right now, keep Gerald Henderson, Keep Bismack, Keep Tyrus at this point to see how he does next half season and first half of next season, trade Diaw if you can, trade Diop if you can, make a good draft pick in upcoming draft, Keep DJ Augustin and Kemba, but if need be trade one of them for something of value. Once they have the expiring contracts gone we have more room to sign someone bigger, not the biggest player b/c they probably would not want to come play for Charlotte. Also we need to look into somehow getting Gerald Wallace back in Charlotte. If anyone to be traded, it should be Diop, Najera, Diaw and one of the point guards if need be.

Posted by: Hater Hater | Feb 24, 2012 3:50:46 PM

Rahshon Gamble,

How about you Turn off your CapsLock? All Caps posts are considered bad manners.

Posted by: John | Feb 24, 2012 4:18:42 PM

who said kemba's jumpshot was broken? his %'s are poor but that has way more to do with selection than ability. he has a better than advertised shot.

and drafting ACC players was not based on them being ACC players. they were based on who was available where we were picking. when we picked felton, that was the 1 of the 3 point guards left at pick 5. when we took may at 13, he was the best player available by almost every draft projection. jared dudley definitely wasn't drafted to bring in fans, and in hendo's case.....it was between he and terrance williams and they got that one right too.

people draft ACC players because they are good. not because they want to sell tickets. just like they do with big ten and big east and pac 10 players etc. etc. etc.

davis, barnes, and sullinger will be franchise players we just have to hope we get one of them. especially davis.

Posted by: charlottean | Feb 24, 2012 4:23:26 PM

How is this any different than any plan we have followed in the past? Where has it put us? In the bottom half of the league every year but one and in that one year we were swept in 4 games in the playoffs. I'll believe it when I see it.

Posted by: SteveS | Feb 24, 2012 4:24:19 PM

The difference is Cho has been part of a team that has actually done it.

Hey Me....those were not my comments about trades.

Posted by: Bobcat Tommy | Feb 24, 2012 4:28:09 PM

Hater Hater, come on man!! #1 Diaw is a Free Agent after this season. The only reason anyone would trade for Diop is his expiring contract. But I'd rather hold on to him than trade that contract for another bloated contract for someone else.
And nobody would trade for Maggette either, can't shoot, can't defend, can't score, can't trade. This team has more lemons than a lemon tree.
And let's not forget that Durant was the #2 pick. It's conceivable that Portland could have drafted Durant and Seattle would have had Oden, and we wouldn't be having this discussion. Next Year's pick needs to be a Cam Newton type, someone that can carry the team and be a 10 year starter. Just not sure that person is out there this year. Everyone has an issue or 2.

Posted by: DT | Feb 24, 2012 4:28:49 PM

DT agree about everything except that davis, barnes, sullinger aren't sure shot 10 year starting guys. i think davis is looking like a healthy antonio mcdyess. not the 35 year old broken down but still got game mcdyess but the guy that got drafted number 2 overall by the nuggets mcdyess. i think barnes is mashburn with knees. sullinger looks like he might be somewhere between vin baker and bosh. these guys are what we need, we just need to hope we aren't pick #4 in a 3 man draft.


we didn't follow through on the plan before. we draft okafor year 1, felton, may year 2, morrison year 3. besides may being constantly hurt, this could have been the start of an OKC type franchise. but then we hire sam vincent, trade for jason richardson, morrison gets hurt, then brown gets hired and diverts the plan from building through the draft to slapping together veterans thinking that his one anomaly of a championship was the actual formula for winning, which it isn't.

all the while we had a horribly run organization. but look at the facts.....year 1 - 18 wins, year 2 - 26 wins, year 3 - 33 wins, then we aborted the plan. it wouldn't have been year 4 41 wins because of may and morrison injuries. but it could have easily been year 5 - 45 wins, year 6 and so forth 45 + wins.

instead, they slapped together a bunch of vets, had a mediocre year and couldn't even afford to retain the mediocrity so they did the right thing by accident and blew it up.

we drafted biyombo, walker, and we already had augustin, henderson.....we assembled several loose parts like brown, white, and mullens. we draft one of the 3 top flight guys in this draft, and then grab another lottery guy the following year.....we will be set. then it will be about letting them grow.

nba players are in their prime in their mid to late 20's. not early 20's. not mid 30's. so you get a bunch of early 20's guys together coach them up get the chemistry and roles down and by the time they hit their prime, we have a contender.

EVERY championship since 1990 except for detroit's most recent was won through the draft. fact.

Posted by: charlottean | Feb 24, 2012 5:22:17 PM


I'm waiting to form a full opinion on Sullinger until the length measurements come out. No doubt he has skills, but he is definitely below-the-rim. If he is doing his thing with a 9-foot reach and 7-foot wingspan, I will feel much better about him. He could be a mix between Kevin Love and Karl Malone. OR he could be a mix between Sean May and J.R. Reid, who both looked outstanding in college.

Barnes is a safe bet to be a good nba player, and Davis could definitely be a franchise player with continued work.

But it is impossible to be for certain.

Posted by: DeLaQuest | Feb 24, 2012 5:56:47 PM

How does Higgins still have a job?

So all they need to do is draft two top 20 players plus one of the top sixth men in the league? Got it.

Posted by: Kevin | Feb 24, 2012 6:26:29 PM

How can you be rebuilding when nothing has ever been built!

Posted by: joe cool | Feb 24, 2012 7:19:36 PM

Cho definately has been given power in this organization. Remember biyombo is his pick.

Posted by: crymeariver | Feb 24, 2012 7:22:34 PM

Barnes is the pick. The bobcats need a wing with long range and mid range game who can fill up the basket. Barnes is the only player with that game and the only player with the ability to become a star. We already have a long armed big man who can play defense but has little to no offensive game so why draft Davis? We need offense.

Posted by: Chill | Feb 24, 2012 7:24:09 PM

Amen crymeariver

Posted by: Aussiefan | Feb 24, 2012 8:06:41 PM

I still like the Blatche for Thomas senario. If that happens, I'd play Blatche at center, move Biyombo to power forward (better lateral quickness) and draft Barnes in next years draft. I'd also consider trading DJ to New Orleans this year for Jarrett Jack and a pick.

Blatche is more of an offensive threat than anyone we currently have in the front court. He has the size and he averaged 24pts & 10rbs in the last 10 games of the Wizards 2011 season. Washington doesn't want him and there's still potential for him to be a really good player. Plus, it's just one move that's very close to Tyrus' current contract, while preserving everything that Cho and Higgins talked about above.

2012-13 Roster

kemba, jack, higgins
henderson, williams, carroll
maggette, barnes, brown
biyombo, white
blatche, mullens, diop

Posted by: Larry | Feb 24, 2012 8:08:40 PM

Just win baby!!!

Posted by: Mississippi Guy 704 | Feb 24, 2012 8:35:01 PM

Cho's engineering + legal background is proving useful in laying the groundwork and changing the franchise's failing ways. We all just need to be patient, trust the system and let it play out.
In the meantime, let's support & enjoy what we do have on the court now and be that fan that was with the team through and through...because it'll be even sweeter when the times are good.

Posted by: CharlotteFan | Feb 24, 2012 9:35:25 PM

Buckley @ 2:26pm feb 24th gets it.

Posted by: tmack652 | Feb 25, 2012 12:54:30 AM

Glad to see they are panicking. TheBobcats made the made the right decision to blow up that team.Felton benched in Portland. Jackson can't play in Milwaukee. Time to try and do it right. It will take time, but sounds like they are. Committed.

Posted by: Davis | Feb 25, 2012 7:58:14 AM


i agree to an extent. I think subbing barnes for maggette and having an augustin, henderson, barnes, __________, biyombo lineup filling in either mullens, white, or thomas at the 4 could be great. but i think davis has way more offense than you give him credit for. i think by that token, an augustin, henderson, thomas, davis, biyombo lineup feels more complete. you could sub brown for thomas if you want.

i prefer barnes, but i think davis has more of a chance of being a derrick rose type impact player. like i said, i think barnes is going to be jamal mashburn with knees (and for those that know basketball, mashburn with knees is a guy who can score 50 and a guy who can score 25 a game on a season)


the reason blatche is a bad idea is because of the attitude. it would be good to swap thomas for blatche and then maybe get somebody else to take blatche because nobody is taking thomas. but to keep blatche is like rebuild suicide where as thomas has been an outstanding teammate during his tough year and has played hard when he's been in. thomas is just overpaid. blatche is overpaid AND problematic. i'll take thomas everyday. i think we wait on thomas. give it one more calender year to see what happens. we don't need to rush on it, we aren't playing for championships next year. and barnes won't sit behind maggette. won't happen.

de la quest,

i hear what you're saying about sullinger but too many undersized 4's have dominated the league over the years. rodman, johnson, barkley, etc. he's an old school 4 with solid game. it wasn't until recently that 4's became 6-10 and up. used to be 6-7. 6-8 with bulk. which still works in the nba, ask craig smith or david west or dejaun blair. i'm saying he's the consolation prize after davis and barnes are off the board. he's going to be a solid go-to post guy.

and sean may wasn't just good in college, he was good in the pros. then he had like a million knee surgeries and couldn't get back in shape. but he was once good. j.r. reid was a serviceable big man his entire career nothing more which at number 5 you have to expect more.
i don't see sullinger being that. i see him being more david west or larry johnson with that great back to the basket game but also with the mid range jumper. there's a certain level of luck involved with great college talents turning into great pro talents. some get drafted to the right system with the right coach and the right teammates and they flourish (derrick rose), others get put on a team that doesn't really want them and then ships them off to another team that doesn't really want them and it just never happens for them regardless of their talent (michael beasley). others just get drafted into a situation that works but doesn't make them look as good as they could have elsewhere (evan turner).

all that has to come into play with this pick. if you draft barnes and put him in maggette's spot, he'll flourish. if you draft davis and put him in diaw's spot next to biyombo, he'll flourish. i think the same could be said about sullinger but i'm not quite as sure but i'm pretty sure. i love how he's improved his shooting and his range this year like barnes has. good move (to our benefit) for both of them to go back another year.

either way with those 3....we're upgrading big time and getting a legit #1 option that we haven't had. and it'll be another young guy under 25 to build around.

Posted by: charlottean | Feb 25, 2012 10:07:56 AM

Being in ACC country, I can understand your bias for Barnes. However, if Anthony Davis is available in the draft, he's the pick, end-of-story. 28 points, 11 rebounds, & 6 blocked shots in today's game. Davis is the most legit player available. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/recap?gameId=320560096

Posted by: BBallFan | Feb 25, 2012 5:31:24 PM

Cho chose westbrook over love. Westbrook cant shoot,has poor shooting mechanics,cant create in the paint and will be the undoing of the thunder.

Monta ellis is too small to play two gd. If he comes to the east, his scoring average will go down. Hes also not a good defender and averages over 3 turnovers a game.

Henderson is emerging. Hes the 2 nd best two gd defender in the nba ,bar none at the hardest to guard position. If he goes west, his 16 pt average goes up. Hes averaged 22 pts a game the last 7 games ,gets to the line and plays big in the big games and has the critical mid range jumper coaches crave outta two gds.

Name one star pt gd under 5 '11". Esp one that cant shoot and is pass second. Ellis n kemba back ct wud be two small gds whc is the problem the warriors have now. Tiny archibald n isiah thomas were both 6'1". Much taller than kemba at 5'10". Who cant defend anyone bc of his height.

Posted by: Ironman | Feb 25, 2012 6:31:43 PM

Develop young talent; get picks; stick with a game plan... Wow; just what Bickerstaff was doing before MJ ran him out-

Posted by: Downtown Sports | Feb 25, 2012 9:13:40 PM


i'm pretty sure we all said that davis was the clear cut number one. but barnes isn't a bad consolation prize. he's had plenty of big games as well. not saturday though, dude was off. 3 for 15. no bias here, i'd go davis 1, barnes 2, sullinger 3. i wouldn't go drummond until 5 or later but i'm sure if he comes out he'll go top 4 and i just don't buy that. he's big so he'll be valuable, yes. but he's not that good. in THIS draft, i'd go for the talent 1st, size 2nd. wind up looking like portland taking oden/bowie/walton.

Posted by: charlottean | Feb 27, 2012 12:51:11 PM

Lets give up our draft picks for this year and next year to bring in Lebron James,Dwayne Wade,Derrick Rose and a few good role players.We already have the best coach in the NBA in Silas. This team could be good for several years.Lets use our heads for once.

Posted by: BG | Mar 4, 2012 11:21:13 AM

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