Rod Thorn, the long time NBA executive who drafted Michael Jordan, to retire

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Rod Thorn is a guy well known and well respected around the NBA. Other executives trusted him. That’s why he returned as the NBA’s president of basketball operations as the league transitioned from David Stern to Adam Silver in the commissioner’s chair. He was there to provide a little stability.

Now Thorn is about to retire, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Thorn, 73, returned to the league office in August 2013 to oversee the league’s daily operations under commissioner Adam Silver, an appointment that had been planned to be a two-year bridge to a longer-term successor, sources said. Kiki Vandeweghe, the NBA’s vice president of basketball operations, is a strong candidate to be promoted to take Thorn’s job, sources said.

Thorn had three stops as a general manager – with the Chicago Bulls, New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. He was the NBA’s Executive of the Year in 2001-02 for orchestrating the Nets’ dramatic turnaround that led to an NBA Finals run. Thorn might best remembered for drafting Michael Jordan to the Chicago Bulls with the third overall pick in the 1984 NBA draft.

After his run with the Bulls, Thorn came on to be the NBA’s president of basketball operations under Stern for 14 years. He then jumped back into the NBA’s front office ranks.

People forget Thorn was a player before all that — he’s was the No. 2 pick back in the 1963 NBA draft, and he played eight NBA seasons.

He was given the John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hall of Fame this year.