NBA Fact or Fiction: Michael Jordan’s record as Hornets owner is something to behold

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Is Michael Jordan also the GOAT of the worst current NBA team owners?

Michael Jordan is the greatest player in the history of basketball. He made the NBA a global brand. In 1985, the Chicago Bulls were sold for $16.2 million. Today they are worth $4.1 billion. Jordan is the main reason for this growth. He deserves every cent that the sport can repay him throughout his life.

Jordan is also a pioneering businessman, serving as the NBA’s sole non-white major owner for nearly a decade after buying a majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets for $275 million in 2010. He became the first billionaire athlete six years later, the same year Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Jordan’s philanthropy includes donations of $100 million to “organizations dedicated to racial equality, social justice, and higher education,” $10 million to Make a Wish, $5 million to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and millions more. in the other place.

The man is an icon. May be V icon.

It was revealed on Thursday that Jordan plans to sell his controlling stake in the Charlotte Hornets for possibly another billion, while maintaining a minority stake in the franchise. It is unknown if he will retain the title”managing member of basketball operations”, which he first accepted as a minority shareholder in 2006.

These caveats are necessary before we jump to another conclusion that is less reckless in the grand scheme of things: Jordan’s track record as head of basketball operations is terrible.

He hired former Bulls teammate Rod Higgins as general manager in 2007, then Rich Cho in 2011 and University of North Carolina alumnus Mitch Kupchak in 2018, but Jordan has always been the loudest voice in the room. Charlotte has been his home in the NBA since he took over running the basketball team in 2006.

Kemba Walker is Jordan’s only home run to ever hit the Hornets, and Charlotte even picked Bismack Biyombo two points ahead of him. His first-round draft average is worse than the .202 he hit with the double-rated Birmingham Barons. The draft entry is somehow even worse than this first glance:

  • 2006: 3. Adam Morrison

  • 2007: 22. Jared Dudley

  • 2008: 9. DJ Augustin, 20. Alexis Ajinka

  • 2009: 12. Gerald Henderson

  • 2011: 7. Biyombo, 9. Walker

  • 2012: 2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

  • 2013: 4. Cody Zeller

  • 2014: 9. Noah Wonleh, 26 PJ Hairston

  • 2015: 9. Frank Kaminsky

  • 2017: 11. Malik Monk

  • 2018: 12. Miles Bridges

  • 2019: 12. PJ Washington

  • 2020: 3. Ball Lamelo

  • 2021: 11. James Bucknight, 19. Kai Jones

  • 2022: 15. Mark Williams

Few of them ever signed a second contract with the Hornets.

Morrison is one of the biggest losers of all time, even though the 2006 draft did not bring much shock. Tyrus Thomas was fourth this year in Chicago. Don’t worry: Jordan traded a future first-round pick for a 2010 acquisition of Thomas, gave him a five-year, $40 million contract, and applied a three-season extension clause to the deal.

Jordan traded his eighth overall in 2007, when Joaquim Noah was still on the board, in exchange for Jason Richardson, who was dropped by Charlotte a year later. with Dudley – Raja Bell, Boris Diaw and Sean Singletary. Only Diaw lasted a year, and he eventually left the Hornets because “it was hard to lose.”

In 2008, Jordan selected Augustine ninth overall, one position ahead of Brook Lopez, and then traded another future first round pick for No. 20 Ajinsu Zeller and Wonleh when several future multiples were still available each season all stars.

The death blow may have come in 2015, when Jordan reportedly turned down an offer from the Boston Celtics for four first-round draft picks, including Jaylen Brown’s, to pick Kaminsky.

Michael Jordan played more playoff games in eight different seasons than his Charlotte Hornets did in the 17 years he owned the team.  (Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports)
Michael Jordan played more playoff games in eight different seasons than his Charlotte Hornets did in the 17 years he owned the team. (Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports)

Over the next four seasons, the Jordans Hornets traded their first round pick to Marco Belinelli in 2016, drafted Monk 11th overall over Donovan Mitchell (13th overall) and Bam Adebayo (14th overall) in 2017 , swapped the 11th number. pick (Shai Gilgeus-Alexander) for 12th (Bridges) in 2018 and pick Washington just ahead of Tyler Herro in 2019. Too many bad decisions for all of them to just be unlucky.

Time will tell if choosing Ball will give the Hornets a reprieve from their draft woes. He was an All-Star replacement for the second season. He couldn’t stay healthy this season, eventually breaking his right ankle last month. There are already rumors that he may request a trade from Charlotte in the future.

To build around Ball, the Hornets selected Buckknight 11th overall and traded another protected first-round pick to get Jones 19th overall. None of them have been a regular in the rotation for a 22-win team this season. Last June, Charlotte dropped from No. 13 (Jalen Düren) to No. 15, taking on Williams, who was regularly on the “DNP – Coach’s Decision” list until Christmas. This year, the Hornets will have two first-round draft picks and their pick will be Victor Wembanyama, so hope never dies.

Jordan regularly trades his second-round picks, and his Hornets are one of two teams that have never paid a luxury tax. As a reminder, Jordan also led a group of uncompromising owners during the 2011 lockout that reduced player share of basketball-related revenue from 57% to 50%. As Howard Beck pointed out in a moment for The New York TimesIt was Jordan, as a player during the previous lockout, who told then-Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin, “If you can’t make a profit, you should sell your team.”

If only profits were the justification for Charlotte’s disastrous free agency career. Any expectation that Jordan’s biggest advantage as an owner would be his ability to lure players to the Hornets has long been dispelled. His recruitment brought in little more than distressed assets. The Hornets signed crippled Al Jefferson from the Utah Jazz in 2013. In his first season with Charlotte, he made it to the NBA Third Team, and the following year, he tore a meniscus in the same knee where he had previously torn his ACL and was never the best. same.

Jordan’s free agent signings include the fading dreams of Lance Stephenson, Jeremy Lin, Roy Hibbert, Michael Carter-Williams and Tony Parker in the NBA between 2014 and 2018. Its high-profile recruits end with the frequently injured Gordon Hayward in 2020 (four years, $120 million!). The Hornets also don’t have free agents. Christian Wood could have been if they hadn’t dropped his minimum option in 2017.

If you didn’t like what you saw in checkers or free will, bidding was no better. Emeka Okafor for Tyson Chandler in 2009 could have been worthy if the Hornets hadn’t traded future Defensive Player of the Year after one season for three guys who couldn’t get into the rotation. Similarly, trading Gerald Wallace for two first-round picks could have worked if Charlotte hadn’t given up both picks in the coming years. Charlotte traded Henderson and Wonleh for Nicholas Batum in 2015, signed the Frenchman to a five-year, $120 million contract a year later and pulled out before the deal reached its merciful end in 2021.

The task is to find important transactions during the reign of Jordan. Charlotte’s acquisition of Stephen Jackson in 2009 gave him his last two quality seasons, neither of which resulted in a playoff win. Basically, the Hornets trade one bad contract for another, often bringing back players who had previously failed at Charlotte.

During the Jordan era, they made three playoff appearances in 17 seasons, all eliminated in the first round, two of them sweeps. Their seven-year playoff drought will be the longest in the NBA when the Sacramento Kings make the playoffs this year for the first time since 2006. Otherwise, Charlotte and the Minnesota Timberwolves have the fewest playoff wins (three) since Jordan joined the Hornets. Group 17 years ago.

The New York Knicks are the only other team with single-digit playoff wins in a period where more than two-thirds of the league has 10 times as many playoff wins as the Hornets. We can only admit that Jordan is a better team owner than the Knicks’ James Dolan in every aspect other than picking a winner.

Fact: As impressive as Jordan is as a great basketball player, he is just as impressive as a bad team owner.


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