Hornets make historic splash with new hire to lead front office

February 15, 2021; Sacramento, California, USA;  Brooklyn Nets assistant general manager Jeff Peterson
February 15, 2021; Sacramento, California, USA; Brooklyn Nets assistant general manager Jeff Peterson / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday morning Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that the Charlotte Hornets plan to officially hire Brooklyn Nets executive, Jeff Peterson to be the next head of basketball operations, replacing Mitch Kupchak. 

At just 35 years old, Peterson becomes the youngest executive ever to lead an NBA front office. He got his NBA start in Atlanta in 2013 as a scout and has quickly climbed the ladder. He became the assistant general manager for the Nets in 2019 and has held that position ever since.

Peterson has been a hot up-and-coming name and has been linked to Charlotte as a potential replacement for almost a year now. Since new owners, Gabe Plotkin and Rich Schnall took over the team it has been a poorly kept secret that they wanted to replace Mitch Kupchak. 

Kupchak officially stepped down and took a new position as an advisor just after the all-star break. The hunt for his replacement has heated up ever since he officially stepped down a few weeks ago on February 12th.

Who else was considered?

The Hornets' search included over 12 candidates, including names around the league such as Trajan Langdon from the Pelicans, Elton Brand from the 76ers, Austin Ainge from the Celtics, Matt Lloyd of Minnesota, and more.

Peterson has a history with Schnall, who was a minority owner of the Hawks during Peterson’s tenure, starting as an intern and making his way up to assistant GM. He also has a good working relationship with head coach Steve Clifford from their time together in Brooklyn, where Clifford was a consultant before returning to Charlotte.

This won’t be an easy job for Peterson, as he’ll be tasked with rebuilding the Hornets, who haven’t reached the NBA playoffs since 2015-16 and currently hold the fourth-worst record in the league.

He’ll inherit young building blocks, Brandon Miller, Mark Williams, and LaMelo Ball, a big impending free agency decision on Miles Bridges, and a bundle of draft capital. It will be a long process, and it will all start this offseason (if not sooner), but the team has their guy.