- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 14, 2011

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Just over a week before one of the biggest drafts in the Charlotte Bobcats’ short history, owner Michael Jordan has shaken up the front office.

The Bobcats announced late Monday they’ve hired former Portland general manager Rich Cho to the same position. Rod Higgins, who had held that job since 2007, was promoted to president of basketball operations.

Cho’s new role comes three weeks after he was fired by the Trail Blazers _ after less than a year on the job _ and four months after he brokered a trade deadline deal with Higgins and Charlotte that sent Gerald Wallace to the Blazers.

The trade opened salary-cap space for Charlotte and yielded a first-round pick. The Bobcats on June 23 will pick ninth, 19th and 39th, and Jordan has said the draft is critical for Charlotte’s future.

The expansion Bobcats have made the playoffs just once in their seven seasons and sunk to 34-48 this past season, during which Jordan fired coach Larry Brown and hired Paul Silas. Jordan, who has had the final say on basketball decisions since 2006, bought the team outright last year and is seemingly leaving his element in hiring Cho.

Jordan had brought in mostly confidants to the front office. Higgins was a former teammate and team president Fred Whitfield is an old friend. Cho will give the Bobcats a fresh perspective as Jordan tries to make the money-losing team a winner.

Born in Burma, Cho became the NBA’s first Asian GM last year when he was hired away from Oklahoma City’s front office. But he lasted less than a year despite being praised for the Wallace deal because of what Blazers President Larry Miller called “chemistry issues.”

Cho, who has a law degree from Pepperdine, will assist Higgins in basketball decisions and handle the salary cap.

The Bobcats have already done much of their draft preparation, but will resume player workouts Wednesday with Cho expected to attend.

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