The Charlotte Hornets have started securing permission to interview candidates for the franchise's vacant general manager position, league sources told ESPN. Former Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak remains a front-runner to ultimately receive an offer to replace Rich Cho, but the Hornets are engaging in a wider search process and plan to start an initial round of conversations with candidates as soon as this week, league sources said. Charlotte has received permission to speak with Philadelphia 76ers vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley, Houston Rockets executive vice president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, and Miami Heat assistant general manager Adam Simon, league sources told ESPN. Charlotte has directly registered its interest with Kupchak, league sources said. Kupchak has a long-standing relationship with team owner Michael Jordan, with whom he shares University of North Carolina ties. Kupchak won two NBA championships in 2009 and 2010 as Lakers GM. He was dismissed a year ago, replaced by Magic Johnson.