Charlotte Hornets general manager Rich Cho spoke with Charlotte media at midnight Friday, too late for print editions of the Charlotte Observer. Cho’s statements, regarding their drafting Wisconsin center-forward Frank Kaminsky ninth overall Thursday among other topics.
(General opening comments):
“We’re excited to add Frank Kaminsky to our team. He’s a guy we’ve been looking at for quite a while. He’s a skilled, versatile big who can play multiple positions and really stretch the floor with his shooting. He’s got great footwork, he’s an excellent passer, he can play inside and outside.”
Q: Does his having played four seasons of college ball suggest he might be able to play sooner in the NBA?
“I think he can come in and play. He’s going to have to earn his minutes just like everybody else, but he had a great career at Wisconsin. He’s a winner.”
Q: Were you surprised that Duke’s Justise Winslow was available to you at No. 9 and how much or little did that factor into your decision?
“I don’t want to really talk about Justise. We drafted Frank. Justise is a very good player. We thought Frank was the best available player. That’s why we drafted him.”
Q: Did the trades you made to acquire wing shooters at all affect your thinking in drafting Kaminsky?
“It changed it to a certain extent, but at the same time we felt ‘Best Available Player.’ We added some shooting with (Nicolas) Batum, we added some shooting with (Jeremy) Lamb and we also added some shooting with Frank. Shooting was something we really wanted to add right after the season.”
Q: Do you see Kaminsky as more a power forward or a center?
“He’s going to cause matchup problems at both positions. I think if you ask him, he’d probably be comfortable playing both. It will be up to coach (Steve) Clifford where he sees fit.”
Q: Will drafting Kaminsky be any factor in whether you make a qualifying offer to center Bismack Biyombo?
“We’re still evaluating that. Right now we have five bigs (who have or will get guaranteed contracts) -- Cody (Zeller), Marvin (Williams), Al (Jefferson), Frank and Spencer (Hawes) -- so we’re still evaluating that.”
(Regarding decision to trade the 39th pick to the Brooklyn Nets)
“With the 39th pick we selected Juan Pablo Vaulet, a small forward...we traded his draft rights to Brooklyn for two second-round picks and cash considerations...2018 and 2019. The 2019 is Brooklyn’s pick. The 2018 is a little more convoluted; it’s either Cleveland’s pick or Brooklyn’s pick.”
Q: You indicated before you’re running out of roster spots. Was that a factor in you trading the second-round pick?
“We’re going to need a third point guard and that’s something we’ll address in free agency. I think we’ll also address some more shooting in free agency. We have limited spots left.”
Q: Are you considering bringing back Mo Williams?
“Mo is on our list, that’s something we’re going to look at.”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell