A year after several of Clippers’ high-ranking employees have been courted for NBA jobs just to stay there, the franchise’s ability to retain its best talent again could be put to the test.
Mark Hughes, an assistant general manager who joined the Clippers in 2017, will interview for the position of general manager of the Chicago Bulls, confirmed two people knowing the situation but not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
ESPN reported that two other candidates known to be in the running are Marc Eversley of Philadelphia and Matt Lloyd of Orlando.
Hughes is considered a solid candidate because of his reputation as a relationship builder with experience at all levels of basketball.
6-foot-8 co-captain of the Michigan NCAA Championship team in 1989, Hughes was head coach of the Continental Basketball Assn., NBA assistant coach in Orlando and Sacramento, and works out of offices. welcome since 2007, when he joined the Knicks as a scout before a promotion to the position of director of player personnel.
This is not the first time that Hughes has been considered for a position as managing director; Three years ago, before joining the Clippers, Hughes spoke to Atlanta about the work that was ultimately given to Travis Schlenk.
Chicago general manager vacancy following recent front office restructuring that led to hiring Denver general manager Arturas Karnisovas to become executive vice president of basketball operations Chicago. John Paxson, who previously held the title, retains a new advisory role, but Gar Forman, who has been the Bulls’ general manager for a decade and has been part of his front office since 1998, has been laid off.
The Bulls have already started to redo their front office under Karnisovas, and have reportedly hired J.J. Polk as GM assistant and Pat Connelly, a former Denver scout.
The Clippers authorized Chicago to interview Hughes by policy, just as last spring, the team authorized Minnesota to speak with general manager Michael Winger and New Orleans with GM assistant Trent Redden. The Timberwolves were hiring for their best basketball position, while the Pelicans were looking for a general manager to work under executive officer David Griffin, with whom Redden had worked during his time in Cleveland. These opportunities would have represented promotions, but Winger – who ultimately refused to interview Minnesota – and Redden both stayed because of what they later called a shared desire to continue the Clippers’ ambitious reconstruction.
Coupled with decisions made last spring by trainer Doc Rivers and consultant Jerry West to sign new deals to stay longer, retentions indicated that the Clippers had, under owner Steve Ballmer, transformed one of the places NBA’s least desirable jobs into one that could land and retain top talent. This belief was underscored months later when the best free agent Kawhi Leonard chose the Clippers over the Lakers and the newly crowned NBA champion Toronto Raptors.
Depending on Chicago’s interest in Hughes, the Clippers’ ability to counter promotions elsewhere may be retested. The Bulls’ hiring process is expected to take place next week.