Rod Higgins has waived his share of players in 12 years as an NBA executive. But his most recent cut hit especially close to home: On Saturday night, the Bobcats president of basketball operations waived his own son.
"When you make a decision like that to sign your son, you know a day like this could always happen," Rod Higgins told Yahoo! Sports. "The player realizes the same thing. The personal aspect is the personal aspect. But when you take the next step and realize it's a business, you always know this could happen."
Rod Higgins told Cory in a face-to-face meeting Saturday night, hours before the team announced his waiver on Sunday. Cory Higgins was getting little playing time as Charlotte's third point guard and the Bobcats needed size and rebounding. The 7-12 Bobcats, losers of seven straight game, still have a roster spot open after replacing Higgins with journeyman forward Jeff Adrien.
Cory Higgins is expected to become a free agent once he clears waivers. He averaged 3.7 points, 0.9 assists and 10.3 minutes in 44 games over the past two seasons.
"It's part of the business," Rod Higgins said. "The human factor? The conversation is probably more in-depth with Cory than another player. That is just human nature because of our connection."
Higgins continually described his son as "the player," rather than call him by his name. But the Bobcats executive also showed his paternal side when he called his son late Saturday night and on Sunday to check on him.
"He doesn't stop being my son," Rod Higgins said.
Adrien had hopes of re-signing with the Bobcats after they cut him during training camp. He was previously playing in the NBA Development League for Rio Grande. While Adrien wasn't surprised that Charlotte picked him up, he was surprised by who he replaced.
"I had no idea. He was a great teammate and close friends with a lot of players on the team," Adrien said of Cory.
Cory Higgins averaged 16.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists as a senior at Colorado during the 2010-11 season. After going undrafted, he was with the Denver Nuggets for two weeks before being waived on Dec. 23, 2011. Two days later, the Bobcats picked him up off waivers on the first game day of the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season.
Rod Higgins knew that acquiring his son for the Bobcats would raise concerns of favoritism. Cory Higgins handled it all well, never had any issues with the coaches or his teammates and played like he belonged. He was also well liked among the players and grew close to Bobcats guard Kemba Walker.
"Just think of the pressure he was under every day," Rod Higgins said. "Just step in his shoes for a second. He had to be a good pro. He had to toe the line. He is still trying to find his place in the NBA, but he's proven that he's an NBA player."
After cutting his son, Rod Higgins had the tough task of telling his wife, Concetta, about the decision.
"She took it like there is going to be something better down the road for him," said Rod Higgins, whose own playing career included 13 NBA seasons, as well as stops in the CBA and Greece. "She has been with me for quite some time. She saw my career up close and personal. She knows how this stuff works."
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