Rod Higgins out as Hornets president

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Late last night, the Charlotte Hornets made an announcement that was oddly timed for a couple reasons.

1. An NBA Finals game had just finished, and most basketball writers were focused on that.

2. The NBA draft is two weeks away.

Team release:

The Charlotte Hornets today announced that Rod Higgins has stepped down as the team’s President of Basketball Operations, effective immediately.

“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.”

Rich Cho will remain in his capacity as General Manager and assume responsibility for the team’s basketball operations. He will report to Jordan and Vice Chairman Curtis Polk.

This is just strange.

Did Higgins really resign voluntarily? Six weeks after Charlotte completed one of its best seasons since re-entering the league? Two weeks before a draft in which the Hornets have the Nos. 9, 24 and 45 picks?

The plugged-in Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer headlined his blog post “Charlotte Hornets can Rod Higgins…” The text doesn’t elaborate on which party initiated the change, but I suspect we’ll hear more about it soon enough.

Higgins was Charlotte’s general manager for four years and then promoted to president in 2011, when the team hired Cho as general manager. The partnership seemed to be working until now.

The Hornets will be in good hands with Cho, who succeeded as the Trail Blazers’ general manager during a period when they couldn’t stop firing general managers regardless of their ability. He’s definitely qualified to lead a front office.

But who decided Higgins won’t be part of the Hornet’s future, and why now? Those are mysteries.