New Hornets co-chairmen Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin gave an exclusive interview to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer on Thursday following their introductory press conference.
The chat covered a number of topics, including the duo’s desire to build a sustainable winner, fan engagement, the team’s roster, and their respect for former majority owner Michael Jordan, who retained a minority stake in the franchise and recently penned an open thank you letter following the finalized sale.
Here are some highlights from Boone’s interview, with is worth checking out in full for Hornets followers:
On Jordan initiating the conversation about selling the team last August:
“The way he has dealt with us in this process — he told us a year ago, ‘You two guys are the right guys to buy the business,'” Schnall said. “You are basketball guys. I believe you can do this, and I want you to do this.’ And he stuck to his word. He was committed. That’s when we started down this path.”
How Schnall’s experience as a minority owner of the Hawks will impact his decision-making with Charlotte:
“I think being in and around the NBA for eight years, watching how owners make decisions, how general managers make decisions, how the CBA works, how trades work, how you build a roster. And I’m a business builder as a living, and I take all that in to think about and work with Gabe, and the rest of the group on how do you build a team? What’s the strategy for building a team over the long term, and create success over the long term?
“Obviously, I wasn’t making the decisions in Atlanta, but I was in the room. And we went through a rebuild. We made a decision to break it down. … Now you can debate if we did everything right. I don’t think we did. But we did a lot of things right. We had the right idea at that time.
“… I think all of that is information and Gabe and I spent a lot of time talking about it. Now that we are in the position of making those decisions or helping make those decisions, what are the right decisions to make at different times in order to try to build a sustainably successful franchise. And that’s what we are trying to do. We are not trying to win the title in one year and then be terrible two years later. Like any sustainable business, how do we build something that is a contender year-in and year-out.”
Plotkin’s thoughts on the current state of the roster:
“I think it will be a competitive team. When you look at the Eastern Conference, it’s pretty powerful at the top of the conference and there’s a bunch of teams somewhere in the middle parts where I think we can compete within. And we’ll see how that plays out. I think there are really a lot of good parts on the roster. Really, we liked what we saw out of Brandon (Miller) at summer league. His shot wasn’t falling, but that is not something that we are really worried about. He’s got great mechanics, he’s got a great release, he shot the ball incredibly well at Alabama.
“And we just signed LaMelo (Ball) to the max. And he was playing great basketball last year before he got injured. Usually that third, fourth year is an inflection year and we just didn’t get to see it from him because he wasn’t really on the court. And we were just speaking with Mark Williams. When he came into the starting lineup, there was a palpable difference on how this team defended. Being a part of this team for the last four or five years, there’s been no rim protection.
“And so to anchor yourself with a really high basketball IQ player on the back end of your defense, who can alter shots and shoot the basketball a little bit and rim run, that’s really important. The pieces are all there. We’ll see how Miles (Bridges) looks as he comes back. He was great the last season we had him, and there are other young parts that can elevate. And, of course, you have Gordon (Hayward) and Terry (Rozier), who are kind of consummate professionals. There’s a lot of pieces. They’re young and we think they will continue to develop.”