Will Michael Jordan buy the Bobcats?

Part-owner Jordan is on the clock, per Ric Bucher’s sources

Former Houston Rockets president/CEO George Postolos — whose first attempt to purchase the team, according to the Charlotte Observer, fell apart last summer — has made a new offer that Bobcats president Michael Jordan has until the end of February to match, according to sources.

Jordan negotiated a right of first refusal after Johnson made it clear he intended to sell the team, according to a team source. But it was not immediately known whether the group of investors Jordan has assembled has the wherewithal or inclination to match Postolos’ offer.

The Bobcats are sitting above .500 this season and have a good shot at making the playoffs. But the two big moves that put the franchise in this position — the hiring of Larry Brown and the trade for Stephen Jackson — aren’t long-term moves. Brown could retire at any time and Jackson is 31, so I’d be surprised if both are still with the team after next season. Gerald Wallace made the All-Star Game (deservedly), but he’d be better suited to be a sidekick for a dynamic guard. Other than Wallace, the Bobcats don’t really have anyone to build around, so despite their surprising record, Jordan shouldn’t break his arm patting himself on the back.

Besides, Rod Higgins is still technically the GM, right? Here’s a list of all the big moves that the Jordan/Higgins combo executed over the last few seasons, along with a grade for each move:

2007 Draft — Selected Brandan Wright (#8) and Jared Dudley (#22). Traded Wright to the Warriors for Jason Richardson. Joakim Noah went #9, while Wilson Chandler went #23 and Rudy Fernandez went #24. Wright is on the outs in Golden State, while Dudley is having a career year (8.2 points, 3.7 rebounds) for the Phoenix Suns. (D)

July, 2007 — Re-signed Gerald Wallace. (A)

April, 2008 — Named Larry Brown head coach. (B+)

2008 Draft — Selected D.J. Augustin (#9) and Alexis Ajinca (#20). After a pretty good rookie season, Augustin is only playing 18 minutes in his second year. Ajinca is still with the team but is only playing about five minutes per game. To draft Augustin, the Bobcats passed on Brook Lopez (#10), Jason Thompson (#12) and Anthony Randolph (#14). The Bobcats could have had Courtney Lee at #22. (D)

July, 2008 — Re-signed Emeka Okafor to a six-year contract worth $72 million. He averaged 14/11 the previous season. (D+)

December, 2008 — Traded Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley to Phoenix for Raja Bell and Boris Diaw. Diaw is averaging 10-5-4 in 35 minutes per game for the Bobcats. (C-)

January, 2009 — Traded Matt Carroll and Ryan Hollins to the Dallas Mavericks for DeSagana Diop. No big names here, but Diop is being paid like a big name. He stands to make almost $21 million over the next three seasons. (F)

February, 2009 — Traded Shannon Brown and Adam Morrison to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vladimir Radmanovic. While they got rid of a mistake in Morrison, Radmanovic wasn’t the answer and is no longer with the team. Brown is a good rotation player for the Lakers. (F)

2009 Draft — Selected Gerald Henderson (#12). It’s too early to tell with Henderson, but he was supposed to contribute right away. He’s currently averaging 7.9 minutes per game. (C)

July, 2009 — Traded Emeka Okafor for Tyson Chandler, saving the team almost $40 million over the next four years. But why give Okafor that fat extension only to trade him after a 13/10 season? (B)

November, 2009 — Traded Raja Bell and Vladimir Radmanovic to the Warriors for Acie Law and Stephen Jackson. Jackson was on the outs in Golden State, and is playing All-Star-caliber ball in Charlotte (21-5-4). But he’s 31 and still has three years and $28 million remaining on his contract. (B+)

Let’s not forget that prior to naming Higgins general manager, His Airness oversaw the 2006 Draft that saw the Bobcats select Adam Morrison at #3, passing on Tyrus Thomas (#4), Brandon Roy (#6) and Rudy Gay (#8). While some questioned whether Morrison was athletic enough to succeed in the NBA, no one thought that he’d lose his jumper. He’s a career 37% shooter.

The Jordan/Higgins record is spotty at best, and since Brown has a reputation for turning teams around and then moving on, the Bobcats don’t seem poised for long-term success. They won’t have any significant cap space until the summer of 2011, when the contracts of Tyson Chandler and Nazr Mohammed come off the books. They also stand to lose Ray Felton this summer to free agency.

While having Jordan at the helm is good from a marketing standpoint, there’s nothing in his record to suggest that he’s a savvy personnel man. His drafts haven’t gone well and, other than the no-brainer of re-signing Wallace, his best moves are a short-term coaching hire and the trade for a 31-year-old swingman with a questionable attitude. The Bobcats might be better off if Postolos buys the team and gets some new blood running things.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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