Portland Trail Blazers Name Rich Cho General Manager
Blazers Edge was the first to report the news. Cho, 44, has been with the Sonics/Thunder franchise since 1995, and has served as an assistant GM since 2001. He was one of the few prominent employees of the franchise who made the transition from Seattle to Oklahoma City in 2008. He has basically been the team's "capologist" for the last decade, working with current Thunder GM Sam Presti to make sure the team gets the most value out of its precious salary cap space.
Being spendthrift usually isn't a big deal under Blazers owner Paul Allen in Portland; Allen has time and again spent huge dollars for a modicum of production gain. As such, in this sense, the Blazers' job is quite attractive for a smart, detail-oriented GM like Cho. And don't forget about a talented young core (Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Greg Oden) and solid veteran complements (Andre Miller, Marcus Camby).
But considering the way in which talented former GM Kevin Pritchard left the Blazers, you'll understand if Cho arrives with a bit of trepidation, no matter how good the opportunity. Pritchard, who helped turn the infamous Jail Blazers team of the early- and mid-aughts into a playoff contender built around high-charisma young stars, was told by boss Allen he'd be fired ... on the day of the NBA Draft last month. Pritchard asked for permission to still manage the draft, and had a pretty good haul before disappearing into the night.
That's the environment Cho finds himself in: a highly politicized, no-holds-barred, seemingly eternal power struggle.
Cho was born in Myanmar, and moved to Washington state at the age of three. Two years ago, Erik Spoelstra, whose mother was born in the Philippines, became the first NBA head coach of Asian descent.