Chalk Talk with Brian Hagen, Director of Basketball Operations for the Hornets

Published: April 9, 2012

Saturday, Brian Hagen, Director of Basketball Operations for the Hornets, talked to a group of season ticket holders. Jake gives you the highlights.

Saturday night before the Hornets beat the Timberwolves, I was lucky enough to sit down with a small group of season ticket holders for a Chalk Talk session. These chalk talk sessions are one of the many benefits available to season ticket holders through their Lagniappe Rewards program.

Last night, Brian Hagen, the Hornets Director of Basketball Operations spoke to us. Like most front office personnel, he was guarded and careful what he said, but there were still a few things to take away.


-Although, NBA personnel cannot talk about specific underclassmen, there is one clear cut number one players on the Hornets draft board.

-The team will be looking to add some veterans in the offseason. It is “hard to win with just young guys,” Brian said. This echoes what Hugh Weber said the other night about the Hornets wanting to add young veterans to the team–that is players who are about 25-27 who have been in the league for awhile.

-Once the lottery occurs and the team knows what number the picks are is when they will evaluate what moves to make. The team evaluates “what would it take to get those picks from us? We look at every NBA team and we spend an extensive amount of time thinking about that.” He said on draft night you don’t want to get a call from another GM about a trade and be unprepared. Take a look at Michael’s post about some possible moves.

-Ariza does things on offense that “make you bang your head against the wall.” But he seems to be in the long term plans.

-When asked a question about Jarrett Jack, Brian said the team has been happy with his performance and how he has carried the load of the team at times. However, he did refer to him as a “career underachiever.”

-The Hornets are excited about having two lottery picks, cap space and the ability to make move to improve the team. What the team really needs, though, is an owner to say how much of the cap space can be spent.

-On Aminu’s struggles this season: “Gotta remember he is 20. He would be going into his junior year of college.” He said it can take awhile for players to develop, and Aminu looks like he can be a solid roleplayer for the team.

-Also on Aminu: He is one of the nicest guys on the team. “If you asked him to come in  here right now and bang his head against the wall, to run into it right now, he’d do it.” This really made me laugh.

-They are constantly evaluating the roster. “We’re [looking] at our roster in two and three years, and, you know, we don’t have anyone in sharpie…This is a year of really looking at your team and seeing who do we want going forward and who fits what we want? Who is going to bring it? Who is going to compete?”

I asked a follow up question regarding the established veterans getting more playing time than the young pups. Brian responded by saying that Monty Makes playing time decisions on his own. Brian wasn’t sure what the process/decision making behind the playing time was.

This was interesting to me because at this point in the season, when there isn’t really much to play for, you’d think seeing what the younger players are capable of would be a priority. But I guess that’s why I’m not an NBA coach.


  1. edbballin504

    April 9, 2012 at 8:48 am

    I was here! I was the only black guy in the group! I thought that was you, Jake, in the back but wasn’t 100% sure. I was disappointed Dell wasn’t the speaker but still some good stuff.

  2. coach44

    April 9, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Chalk talks are great. My rep knows how much i like to attend them and he will call me sometimes and invite me to one. Another good reason to get to know your rep.

  3. Ryan Schwan

    April 9, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    That career underachiever line is gold.

    • Ron

      April 9, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      And stunning. That kind of critical bluntness is *highly* unusual.

  4. Jake Madison

    April 9, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Ed, next time you’ll have to say hi.

    The Jack line and quote about Aminu running into the wall were great. The underachiever comment wasn’t really a dig at Jack. It was more with how well he has played this year. With Aminu, I get what he was trying to say, just an interesting way of putting it.

    It is always interesting to hear the team executives talk so I definitely appreciate Brian taking the time to do so.

  5. edbballin504

    April 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    What I took from the chalk talk was that the team really is open to just about anything, baring the direction from the new owner. It was said that no guy on this team is listed with a Sharpie, meaning anyone can be moved. However, I believe that Ariza is not going anywhere anytime soon based on Brian’s comments. Having a defensive stopper to match up with Lebron, Kobe, Durant makes Ariza an asset to the organization, no matter how much of a liability he is on offense. It also appears that Brian reads blogs and mock drafts, when he agreed how sweet it would be to land both Robinson and Marshall, as the latest ESPN Mock Draft has for us. They take great stock in the fact that UNC struggled so much without Marshall in the lineup. Good stuff overall, but nothing to come out screaming about that we didnt already know.

    • 504ever

      April 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      I am really glad to hear what was said about Marshall. He is a player, and one who has alreday excelled playing with NBA caliber players in college.

      I have said it before: I’d take Marshall over those stick figure big men who will be available around 10 (Zeller, Zeller, and Henson).

  6. George Bowser

    April 9, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    I want to know what the value of the franchise is and whether any potential buyers have submitted bids to the league office.


  7. Ken

    April 9, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    and you are not an NBA coach who has to justify to a new owner why he should be retained.

  8. David

    April 9, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Marshall doesn’t fit with Gordon. Gordon will have the ball on pick and roll most of the time. Marshall is a ball dominating guard who is not a great scorer and not a great athlete/defender. He will be watching Gordon run pick n roll with his defender sagging off of him daring him to shoot and wearing him out on the other end. Not a good fit

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