Bobcats Season 10 Preview: Michael Jordan Has(n’t) Figured It Out


As we enter the final “Bobcats” season, perhaps no one in the organization has more to prove than owner Michael Jordan. Throughout the summer, League pundits and comment-thread snarks have been quick to point out that MJ’s latest offseason was yet a further demonstration of his ineptitude:

  • Nepotism Part 1: Jordan promoted his brother Larry to “Director of Player Personnel” back in July. MJ’s son, daughter and a host of other long-time friends are already employed by the team in various capacities.
  • Nepotism Part 2: Jordan brought in old friend Patrick Ewing to serve as the team’s associate head coach, continuing the Bobcats tradition of using their bench as courtside seats for friends & family (J.B. Bickerstaff, Stephen Silas, Charles Oakley, Cory Higgins).
  • Coaching Carousel: Jordan hired the team’s fourth coach in five seasons in June.
  • Draft Dunce: Jordan ignored two highly touted prospects, Ben McLemore and Nerlens Noel, and instead “reached” for Indiana’s Cody Zeller with the Draft’s fourth overall pick.
  • Free Agent Foibles: Jordan over-paid an offense-only, aging free agent, forgetting that his young team was the worst defensive squad in the league the season before.
  • Tank Timing: With an super-hyped 2014 Draft Class looming, Jordan picked the wrong offseason to improve the team and lower their Draft Lottery odds.
  • Perpetual Screw Up: Jordan presided over a tone-deaf, scattershot Hornets re-brand announcement that left just as many confused as excited.


While I can’t defend MJ’s continued fascination with nepotism, I believe the other accusations to be mostly pre-conceptions in search of evidence. Pretend for a moment, that Jordan didn’t have the decade-worth of “bad owner” baggage and look at it from another perspective – MJ might be figuring this ownership thing out:

  • Quick to Learn: Jordan owned up to his mistake of hiring the inexperienced Dunlap and moved quick to bring on highly respected veteran NBA assistant Steve Clifford.
  • Outside the Circle Part 1: Jordan hired Clifford even though he wasn’t part of or recommended by someone from MJ’s inner circle (Larry Brown, Dunlap via George Karl).
  • Outside the Circle Part 2: Jordan further committed to another outsider by supporting GM Rich Cho’s decision to draft Zeller – an EXTREMELY risky position for someone with MJ’s draft reputation.
  • Shrewd Businessman: Jordan fought hard for the league’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement back in 2011, then leveraged the new economics in his team’s favor. MJ immediately re-invested the revenue-shared funds back into the team, amnestying PF Tyrus Thomas ($16m in off the book salary).
  • Free Agent Closer: Jordan signed former Utah center Al Jefferson, who, outside of being a nightly double-double machine, is also the biggest free agent signing in Charlotte’s 25 year NBA history.
  • Populist: Spotty announcement aside, Jordan had the insight to Bring Back the Buzz, an incredibly popular move in the region that has re-invigorated a large part of the Hornets’ dormant fanbase.

Long time NBA fans probably remember MJ’s killer fadeaway jumpshot – the one he rode to six Larry O’Brien trophies. Some may have forgotten that Jordan didn’t have that shot until he’d been in the league for ten years. There’s a good chance that MJ is at it again.



Jordan Making His Play



A day after Gerald Wallace’s unassuming turn as the first Bobcat to play in an All-Star game bored me to the point of not bothering to blog about it, we have a new development in the pending sale of the Bobcats.

After Monday evening’s practice, Larry Brown confirmed to the media that Michael Jordan is intent on putting together a proper group and offer to buy the Charlotte Bobcats.

This is not at all surprising; Jordan has indicated his desire to become majority owner in the past.  As we’ve learned about former Houston Rockets president George Postolos and his bid to buy the team in recent months, we’ve also learned that there is some sort of agreement in place which allows Jordan some time to be able to match any bid that current owner Bob Johnson might find acceptable.

At All-Star weekend, NBA Commisioner David Stern confirmed that serious negotiations were underway, and that the team would likely be sold within 60 days.  The only missing piece, as I noted, was some confirmation that Jordan was assembling a group/offer to compete with Postolos’ bid.  And now we have it.

Don’t think this was just an offhand comment by Brown, either.  Jordan has reportedly declined interview requests by the Observer regarding the subject (as has Postolos) but clearly wanted to pass word on at this point.

One would have to assume that Jordan is pretty far along in his quest to put together a bid if he’s allowed Brown to make these comments to the media.  The thing that’s still unclear to me is the exact nature of the agreement that is allowing Jordan time to match Postolos’ bid.  Can Postolos come over the top with another offer?

This is huge stuff in regards to the future of the franchise.  Postolos would reportedly clean house in the front office.  Jordan, current GM Rod Higgins and coach Larry Brown would all be gone.  Prior to the trade for Steven Jackson and the Bobcats’ ascension into the playoff race over the past couple of months, most Cats fans would have welcomed such news, even if it meant blowing up the roster.

But with the team headed in the right direction on the court, continuity sounds pretty good right now.

-Dr. E