- Henry Abbott, TrueHoop, NBA
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You've probably heard Thunder assistant GM Rich Cho's name -- it pops up on short lists of candidates for GM jobs around the the NBA.
But he's almost never in the media. Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated describes Sam Presti's right-hand man as a prototypical next-generation front office executive:
"Rich is incredibly talented," said Presti. "He has great versatility in his approach and skills and is someone that consistently thinks of the long-term interest of the organization."
Former Sonics president Wally Walker used to employ Cho in both the basketball and business offices in Seattle, where Cho would work on sponsorships and other business deals in addition to helping Walker and Sund structure their basketball payroll. When Presti took over, he focused Cho entirely on basketball and has turned him into a scout as well as a numbers-crunching salary-cap expert.
Someday, Cho will be a GM or team president in the NBA, and as such he'll be able to draw on his experience in the business office while not needing to hire legal counsel or a capologist -- he'll fill both roles himself. "The combination of all of those things gives him a really good future," said Sund. "Going back over my career of 30 some years in the NBA, I wish I'd picked up a law or business degree along with my understanding of basketball. I've been in basketball all my life, but the different dimensions Rich has -- I wish I had them."