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Hornets GM Rich Cho On Stephenson Trade

GM Rich Cho has been in full control of the Hornets front office for barely a year, following the resignation of former president of basketball operations Rod Higgins, and his two most significant moves involve Lance Stephenson. Last summer’s acquisition of the shooting guard didn’t go so well, and now Cho is hoping that Monday’s trade that sent Stephenson to the Clippers brings better results. Cho said in a conference call with media after the deal that owner Michael Jordan didn’t order him to ship out Stephenson, though the GM said he does agree with the owner’s philosophy that it’s important to move on from mistakes. Cho had plenty more to say, and while Cho didn’t acknowledge that the team is likely to waive Matt Barnes, he focused his remarks much more heavily on Spencer Hawes, the other player the team received in the deal. We’ll round up the highlights here from the transcription on

On the trade in general:

“We are really excited to acquire Spencer Hawes and Matt Barnes in this deal. Spencer gives us a veteran game – he has proven himself in this league and adds a lot of experience to the locker room. He has the ability to face the floor in offense as an outside shooter and is a great passer as well. He has a high basketball IQ and we’re really excited to have him on the team. As far as Matt, we’re still evaluating our options with Matt. But before I end, I would like to thank Lance for all his hard work during the year and being a professional last season.”

More on Hawes:

“He didn’t have a very good year last year with the Clippers, but I think he just needs to have a comfort level.  I just talked to him a little bit ago and he’s really excited to be here. I know our coaches are really excited to have him as well. We’re just looking forward to getting him here and getting him accustomed to our offense and defense and then having him work with our coaches.”

On Stephenson and his struggles this past season:

“I thought Lance handled it really well, actually. I think it was kind of a shock to the system when wasn’t playing as much. He got out of rotation a little bit, but he handled it professionally and I thought he was a great teammate and I don’t have anything bad to say about Lance.”

On team chemistry:

“I do think we had really good chemistry two years ago and for whatever reason, we probably didn’t have as good of chemistry last year. I wouldn’t put that all on Lance. I do think Spencer is very good locker room guy. I’ve known Spencer for a long, long time, just being from Seattle. I’m also very close with his uncle on his mom’s side. I know Spencer is a solid person and he’s going to be a good locker room veteran presence for us.”

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