Michael Jordan apparently has an exit strategy to leave the Bobcats, which will undoubtedly make Charlotte fans take to the streets for a mass celebration, provided His Airness keeps his word.
Nearing the end of another lost season as Bobcats owner, Jordan recently told his GM, Rich Cho, to start planning for a rebuilding campaign. He also dropped a bombshell, telling Cho and other deputies that if this one doesn’t produce a winner and he continues to lose millions over the next “three to four years,” then he intends to sell the team.
“I told Rich to make us better,” Jordan told one associate recently. “If that doesn’t work and I can’t make a profit in the next three to four years, then I’m selling.”
This is a change of plans for Jordan, who over almost the past year has been seeking a buyer to purchase half the team. The Bobcats lost $20 million last season and they’re headed for more big losses this season.
Jordan’s decision to give the assignment of rebuilding to Cho means that Rod Higgins, his long-time president of basketball operations who goes back to when he ran the Wizards, is on the outs. Jordan told Cho, the Thunder’s former assistant GM who arrived in Charlotte last June, to “follow the Oklahoma City model.”
Good luck with that, because there was some major luck involved in Oklahoma City’s ascension to the top of the Western Conference. The Thunder was most fortunate that Portland passed on Kevin Durant in the 2007 draft, instead opting to take Greg Oden with the top pick. The Blazers once passed on Jordan, and they might end up never living down their Oden pick.
Jordan had falsely advertised his team before the season as playoff-worthy. But at least he has come to the conclusion that he needs to blow it up and start over. His roster is comprised of backup-quality players.
Entering the weekend, the Bobcats had only seven wins, fewest in the NBA. They are on pace to finish with the second-worst point-differential per game since the NBA and ABA merged in 1976. They’ve been losing games by 13.1 ppg, with only the 1992-93 Mavs getting crushed by bigger margins (15.2 ppg). They’ve lost 15 games by 20 or more points.
Because Jordan has been such a failure as an owner — even drawing rare criticism recently from his best pal, Charles Barkley — there will be plenty of fans in Charlotte who hope this next rebuilding campaign is a flop. Just so that he sells and gets out of town.