Rich Cho

Former Blazers GM Cho takes same job with Bobcats


Very smart hire by the Charlotte Bobcats.

Rich Cho — who the Blazers surprisingly let go last month because of “chemistry issues” with owner Paul Allen (which seems to happen to a lot of GMs) — has been hired by the Charlotte Bobcats as GM, the team announced late Monday night (via

It was a bit of a surprise because nobody knew Charlotte was in the market for a GM. Cho will work with promoted Rod Higgins, now the president of basketball operations. This is a smart hire for Charlotte in another way — Cho is not part of Michael Jordan’s inner circle. It’s a different voice, and it’s good to have different voices in an organization.

The challenges are very different in Charlotte — in Portland the owner is ungodly rich where in Charlotte Michael Jordan is not poor but he’s not in a position to lose a lot of money. The payroll needs to be more in line with league norms. He’ll have to build a winner within the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (whatever that looks like). The Bobcats have 10 guys on the roster — Stephen Jackson might be the only one you trust to score regularly, unless you now believe in Tyrus Thomas — and have $50 million committed in salary for next season.

Cho did a solid job in his one year as GM in Portland, one where the best laid plans of mice and men ran into Brandon Roy’s knees, leaving long range plans to be reworked. Cho made a great move to bring in Gerald Wallace — a trade with Charlotte — at the trade deadline and left behind some good pieces for the net GM to work with. Before that Cho was the No. 2 guy with the Oklahoma City Thunder and he is well respected around the league.

Michael Jordan also may not fire Cho when he speaks out publicly. That will be a nice change of pace.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.

As expected, Jimmy Butler says no issue between him, Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler
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Is the Derrick Rose/Jimmy Butler relationship nothing but puppy dogs and rainbows? No. There will be sparks between two intense competitors.

Have those sparks started a fire Bulls fans should be concerned about? A report on Wednesday said the core problem was Butler doesn’t respect Rose’s work ethic, which provided some kindling for that spark to catch.

However, as you would expect, Butler said this was all much ado about nothing, that he and Rose are all good. Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Spin this however you wish: Their relationship is fine and someone in the media is making this up; or their relationship has been rough, and this is all just leaking out now.

This is a Bulls team in a bit of a transition as Rose declines some and Butler has grown into a top-flight player. Clearly that dynamic has some people around the team — likely the people in one of one of the players’ camps doesn’t like the power struggle or where it leaves his buddy — talking out of school to the press.

But as Butler noted, winning cures all ills. If Chicago can get off to a fast start, nobody will be asking chemistry questions.

For now, however, tounges are wagging.