Charlotte Hornets: Trouble in Buzz City?


In a recent post from ESPN’s Zach Lowe about the Charlotte Hornets franchise, he revealed many behind the scenes problems with the Hornets. All the way from owner, to GM, to the head coach. The problems that the team faces on the court were clear but the ones that happen behind closed doors might be a lot worse and definitely harder to solve.

It was stated in the article that “the relationship between Cho and Clifford has been cool since the team dismissed Rod Higgins, a Jordan ally with whom Clifford felt he could talk hoops, per sources familiar with the matter.” There was another rumor going around about a possible rift in the organization between Gm, Rich Cho, and head coach, Steve Clifford.

It also says in the article that  “Cho, Clifford, and Polk(Vice Chairman) all downplayed the idea of a rift, and the two wings of the organization worked well together.”

But that’s exactly what any good team organization would say. They aren’t going to admit that there are problems between the front office and the coach. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if the two sides were in constant battle and there were problems that run much deeper than just a so-called “rift.”

This is not the only issue that is brought up in the article. It is also stated that Charlotte Hornets owner, Michael Jordan, may be a dictator when it comes to the final say of draft picks and other moves. Which isn’t totally crazy because every other teams owner also has final say in what happens in those situations as well. But the difference being here that Jordan has made countless wrong or bad decisions for the team. Curtis Polk, the teams Vice Chairman, said that “(Jordan) is not a dictator” and that “he likes healthy debate.” While this may be true, Jordan does have final say in all the basketball decisions. Whether that be good or bad. Cho added that “pretty much every owner has final say.”

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Lowe came back with “there are still degrees of involvement. Few owners are as active as Jordan in the basketball aspects of player-related debates.”

As an owner you hire people around you to make the basketball decisions or at least have them help you make them. Jordan was an all-time great player in the league but that does not mean that he knows anything about scouting players, drafting them, and making sure that they can play and fit a coaches offensive and defensive schemes. I am sure that he is informed on these things and tries to make the best decision possible for the team but after countless bad choices in free agency, trades, and most of all the draft. I think that it might be time that Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets have a new decision maker in the front office. Because it is clear from over the past ten years that Jordan is probably not the man for the job. Even though he bought the team in only 2010, he was a minority investor with the final say on basketball decisions since 2006. Lowe also said that:

"Skepticism remains among rival teams about Jordan’s stewardship. There are questions about how much college basketball he watches until a cramming session in the week before the draft. His family increasingly dominates the organization; his brother, Larry, is the team’s director of player personnel, and Jordan last year hired his daughter, Jasmine, to serve as coordinator of basketball operations. She has been in the team’s crowded war room on draft night, along with Estee Portnoy, a marketing executive who more than a decade ago emerged as one of Jordan’s closest allies — and now serves as a full-time Hornets employee."

It is almost scary to read that quote. It is normal for owners to surround themselves with close people but to bring in people who may not be the best choice or have the most basketball related knowledge or experience is send a bad message to the rest of the league. Michael Jordan is giving out jobs of high importance to people who might not be necessity qualified to be in that role for the Hornets franchise.

It was also said that some “agents have at times sidestepped Cho to chat directly with Jordan, according to league sources.”

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With an owner that has this much control over an organization from a basketball standpoint, it has to be hard for Cho and the rest of the front office to be able to do their jobs and try their best to put the best team out on the floor.

It might be time for Jordan to take his hand out of the basketball business making decisions for the team and hire people who will take charge and make better decisions than the ones that he has made over the past decade.

The problems in on the court for the Hornets are clear, the ones off of it may be a lot harder to fix. Maybe this team needs a new coach, maybe new players, maybe a new GM, possibly a new owner, or all of the above. One thin is clear in Buzz City, changes need to be made. What they are doing now is not working. Continuous losing seasons and bad draft picks are not success.

It has already been rumored that head coach, Steve Clifford, may be fired and lose his job if the Hornets do not make the playoffs this upcoming season. That is not necessarily going to fix anything in the organization. Because that is not where the problems lie. The owner and front office of the Hornets need to do a better job of making decisions for the team current success and future, something that has not been done very well over the past decade.