Charlotte Hornets: Are fans right for seeking new ownership?

Charlotte Hornets Michael Jordan (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Michael Jordan (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan may be the best basketball player to ever do it, but his performance as an owner thus far has been far from extraordinary.

The Charlotte Hornets have been a bottom feeder team in the NBA for a long time. Yes, they have had multiple playoff berths since the franchise’s return to the Queen City in 2004, but have never been able to make it out of the first round.

They have only drafted one NBA All-Star in that same period of time, Kemba Walker (Did I even have to tell you?), whom they just let leave for Boston after offering him a reported 160 million over five years, roughly 60 million less than the super-max contract he was eligible to receive. This move seems to have been the last straw for many fans that root for the teal and purple.

So what’s next?

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The logical next step after letting arguably the best player your franchise has ever had walk, would be to hit the reset button and begin your team’s rebuild, but it does not seem that the front office believes this is the proper course of action.

The Charlotte Hornets went and acquired Terry Rozier in a sign and trade with the Boston Celtics for Kemba Walker,  giving him a fully guaranteed contract for 3 years, $56.7 million, further adding to their messy cap space situation. Rozier is a younger player, with a promising upside, but is also a player who has failed to shoot above 40% from the field in his time in the NBA.

This shows yet another instance of the Hornets giving away a massive contract, for a player whose production on the floor does not reflect the salary they have been given by this franchise.

The obvious way for the Hornets to begin their rebuild would be to start piling assets and start with the draft, but the average pick Charlotte has received in the NBA draft since 2004 has been 9.8, and they have never had the number one pick.

Having a low-end lottery pick average massively hurts your chances of obtaining a player who can immediately impact your team and franchise, and as stated previously, Charlotte has only drafted one All-Star in the draft since their return. So if the history is any indicator, their chances of doing so are slim to none.

So, who is to blame?

Michael Jordan himself has obviously not been responsible for every bad decision that has been made, but he does have the most influence in the front office as the team owner. The contracts, and some would say the draft picks themselves, are decided by MJ himself.

After the firing of former General Manager Rich Cho, the Hornets brought in ex-Lakers executive Mitch Kupchak. Kupchak is well-respected around the league, and has made multiple draft picks in his tenure after the most recent NBA draft. His first picks in 2018, Miles Bridges and Devonte’ Graham, both showed real promise in their first NBA season and are fully expected to contribute much more in their second season with Kemba Walker moving on to Boston.

His other two second round picks were Hamidou Diallo, who was dealt to Oklahoma City, and Arnoldas Kulboka who was a draft stash player who showed real promise in this recent summer league, although his future in Charlotte has yet to be decided.

He also drafted forward PJ Washington with the 12th pick in the 2019 draft, along with guard Cody Martin and forward Jalen McDaniels at picks 36th and 52nd overall, respectively.

With this poor performance the past 15 years, fans have all of the right in the world to begin questioning Michael Jordan’s ability as an owner. He has mismanaged a lot of situations thus far in Charlotte, and if something does not change soon, the cries for him to sell are only going to become louder.

Yes, Charlotte is a small market team, but the NBA has put rules in place, such as the super max contract, to help small market teams retain their draftees who end up deserving said contract.

MJ is also widely regarded as the best player to ever live, and that in itself is a massive selling point to many players who grew up idolizing the very person who owns the team. Small market should not be used as a defense for Michael Jordan when teams like Utah, Oklahoma City, and even Portland, have developed championship caliber rosters over the years in the same sort of markets.

Next. Boosting trade value of veterans will be key in 2019-20. dark

If you run your team well enough, the results will show. Michael Jordan has just failed to do it with the Charlotte Hornets so far.