‘A single, simple goal’: New Charlotte Hornets owners discuss purchase, desire to win

Majority owners Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin were introduced at a news conference Thursday.
Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin were introduced as the new majority owners of the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday.
Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 3:11 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The same day that the Charlotte Hornets announced that the franchise’s sale had been finalized, the team’s new majority owners were introduced in a news conference.

Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin took the podium for the first time as majority owners Thursday afternoon inside the Spectrum Center, and as Schnall put it, “couldn’t be more excited” to have been there.

The men take over the team’s majority ownership stake that was previously held by NBA legend and North Carolina native Michael Jordan. Jordan had been the majority owner since 2010 and was instrumental in bringing the Hornets moniker back to Charlotte.

While Jordan retains a minority stake in the team, the Hornets are moving forward in a new era.

On the basketball side of things, Schnall and Plotkin did little to suggest that they are in a hurry to make any major changes.

Schnall said they won’t make “any rash decisions” without “full evaluation,” in regards to the job security for coach Steve Clifford and general manager Mitch Kupchak.

Plotkin echoed a similar sentiment when he said his goal is to “win with the people we have here now,” and described himself and Schnall as “patient owners.”

Neither man seemed to think the Hornets are far off from becoming consistent contenders.

“We have a single, simple goal, which is to create the premier franchise in the NBA,” Schnall said.

As for how to do that, Plotkin and Schnall both reverted back to player development as a key emphasis during the upcoming season. That should especially ring true for players like center Mark Williams and rookie Brandon Miller, a pair of first- and second-year players who will likely have major roles in the 2023-24 campaign.

Other young players such as LaMelo Ball, who has already become a star in the NBA, could also benefit from an increased emphasis on player development.

The new owners were also asked about Charlotte’s ability to attract top-tier free agents. Plotkin said he feels Charlotte is “backward” as far as how its market is viewed. He credited the area as being a “great city” that should be more attractive than many people give it credit for.

Plotkin and Schnall also talked about the idea of creating a winning culture and developing the pieces they have in place. They said they believe that when that happens, other players will want to come and be a part of the Hornets franchise.

On the business side of things, the new owners said they want to create a local ownership group and said they have prioritized creating an ownership board full of local representatives. Schnall said he plans to do that by regularly staying in the Queen City himself, and noted that he just recently moved into a new apartment.

The men also shed some light on the potential for a new practice facility in uptown. Previously, it was announced that such a facility could be housed inside a reimagined Charlotte Transit Center (CTC). Plotkin, though, said “nothing has been decided,” and Schnall discussed a need for a stand-alone practice facility, which he said is crucial to NBA success.

Schnall also said during the 40-minute news conference that the Spectrum Center will be “dramatically different” in the next couple years, with renovations set to begin this summer. He said those renovations will become “noticeable” by next summer.

Both owners said they are committed to keeping the Hornets in Charlotte and expressed a desire to transform the team into a consistent winner, something they reiterated they believe will happen before long.

Related: Michael Jordan’s sale of majority ownership of Hornets has been finalized

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