After A Pretty Brutal Run As Owner, Michael Jordan Is Finally Considering Selling His Majority Stake In The Charlotte Hornets
(ESPN) - Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan is engaged in serious talks to sell a majority stake in the franchise to a group led by Hornets minority owner Gabe Plotkin and Atlanta Hawks minority owner Rick Schnall, sources told ESPN on Thursday.
No deal is imminent, but there's significant momentum on a sale that would eventually install Plotkin and Schnall as the co-governors of the Hornets, sources said.
If a sale is completed, Jordan is expected to remain with a minority stake in the franchise, sources said.
When Michael Jordan first got involved with the Charlotte Hornets they were actually the Charlotte Bobcats. The year was 2006, the Bobcats were coming off a 26-56 season, and MJ entered the franchise as a minority share investor. Things didn't really get all that much better considering the Bobcats won 33, 32, and 35 games in the years immediately following. That's not really on MJ since he wasn't the majority owner, but that changed after he obtained a majority ownership share in 2010. How have things been since he's technically been the boss?
Just 3 playoff appearances since 2010, but it's not like these were deep runs. In the first two, they lost 0-4. In the most recent one back in 2015-16 at least they were able to push things to a Game 7 in the first round before losing by 33 points to a Heat team that started Goran Dragic/Joe Johnson/DWade/Luol Deng/Hassan Whiteside. It's not like these were the Heatles or anything so that's not great.
It just goes to show that even if you're perhaps the greatest basketball player in the history of the sport, that doesn't mean shit when it comes to front office success. Even in recent years with the whole Play In Tournament which in theory gives more teams a chance to crack the postseason, the Hornets still couldn't break through after losing both their Play In Games by a combined score of 276-220. The Hawks and Pacers destroyed the Hornets in both matchups.
I get they're a small market team and whatnot, but it's not like MJ broke the bank to put a good team together. For example, this season they have the 25th most expensive roster in the league. You look at some of his free agent decisions, and you could make the case that giving someone like Terry Rozier a 3/56M deal and then extending that to another 4/96M that started this year maybe wasn't the best idea. Then of course there was the entire 4/120M Gordon Hayward contract. I suppose he should get some credit for being strong enough to not fork over a ton of cash for Kemba Walker despite him being a franchise legend, but outside of LaMelo Ball and the early signs that Mark Williams is showing, would anyone consider MJ's tenure anywhere close to a success?
As we know, sometimes a change in ownership can do wonders for a franchise. It's seemed to work for the Clippers once they brought in Steve Ballmer. The Kings took off once Shaq sold his minority share. The Suns got a new owner and immediately traded for Kevin Durant. For a team that doesn't have a whole lot to be excited about outside of LaMelo doing cool shit
maybe a new owner is the type of reset this franchise needs.
Also, if you'll allow me to put on my tin foil hat for a second, I can't help but notice what's currently going on in the race for Wembanyama. Let's have a look to see where the Hornets currently sit
Is it so far-fetched to suggest that if this sale somehow happens or is at least agreed to happen before the Lottery, the NBA will do what they always do and make sure the new owner gets Wembanyama? It's not like the Hornets don't stink so it wouldn't totally be a surprise if they end up with the top pick, and we know the NBA loves money. What better way to sell tickets than to pitch LaMelo/Wembanyama to fans?
The NBA is basically WWE at this point, so this feels pretty plausible now that we know there are discussions of MJ being down to sell his shares.
Just don't be surprised if this is how the ping pong balls shake out later this summer. Especially if this sale goes through. Adam Silver may be a dummy when it comes to a lot of things in his league, but the guy still knows how to follow David Stern's footsteps and rig a Lottery. I'm not ruling it out again this year.