How The Hornets Can Avoid ‘New Owner Syndrome’

Michael Jordan, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Michael Jordan, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

The NBA offseason is riddled with deceiving messages and surprises as teams around the association look to bolster or uproot their rosters in preparation for the coming season, and the Charlotte Hornets are no exception.

The news of Michael Jordan selling his majority share of the Hornets has confused some fans and supporters, with the NBA Draft and Free Agency quickly approaching. The Hornets’ new leadership (Gabe Plotkin & Rick Schnall) have prior experience in the NBA, with Plotkin being a minority shareholder of the Hornets since 2019 and Schnall for the Atlanta Hawks since 2015 (provided by

Throughout NBA history, new owners move hastily with roster construction, treating the early months similar to a president’s First 100 Days in Office. Their unbridled eagerness to move quickly often comes to the detriment of the franchise. Because of this, teams with new management become more susceptible to one-way deals than more experienced organizations.

Recent Examples of ‘New Owner Syndrome’

  1. BKLYN/BOS: Kevin Garnett & Paul Pierce (Draft Night 2013)

After acquiring the Brooklyn Nets, new Owner Mikhail Prokhorov traded for a package centered around two aging stars in Paul Pierce (35) and Kevin Garnett (37). In exchange, the Nets sent Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans, Kris Humphries and 3 Future 1st Round Picks (including two-pick swaps) to Boston. The Nets’ hopes of title contention were short-lived, indirectly allowing the Celtics to draft Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum (provided by

2. MIN/UTAH: Rudy Gobert Trade (2022)

The Timberwolves struck gold with Anthony Edwards. After winning the Play-In Tournament and forcing the 2 seeded Grizzlies six games, new ownership, and the front office desperately wanted to accelerate their championship window. MIN gave up 4 Future1st Round Picks, including Walker Kessler, Jared Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, and Leandro Bolmaro, to Utah for Rudy Gobert (provided by

3. PHX: Kevin Durant & Bradley Beal (2023)

Suns Owner Matt Ishbia committed to a “Win-Now” mindset after acquiring perennial All-Star talents Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal. These moves will put heavy restrictions on the Suns’ future roster-building plans as they enter the ominous second apron of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

How Can Charlotte Avoid  ‘New Owner Syndrome’?

A common denominator in 2 of these 3 trades is none other than Dany Ainge. Knowing when to unload an asset while they still have worth is an important skill for a General Manager. Charlotte should be reluctant to engage in trade talks centered around players aged 29 years or older e.g., Pascal Siakam. Instead, the Hornets should focus on building a core/culture that does not bridge two eras.

LaMelo Ball’s restricted free agency decision following the 2023-24 season should not pressure the front office into making an impetuous decision. Charlotte should either be 110% committed to drafting Scoot Henderson/Brandon Miller or begin to engage in trade talks. Avoiding the NBA ‘No Mans Land’ should be the Hornets’ No.1 priority. Roster flexibility is not mentioned enough in the road to an NBA Championship. Having the ability to sign players at the Mid Level Exception (MLE) and acquire buyout players mid-season has proven to be vital in a team’s post-season success.

Charlotte sits in a favorable cap situation, with Gordon Hayward and PJ Washington in their final year of expiring contracts. Going into the draft, the Hornets’ aim should be surrounding LaMelo with floor spacers and defensive versatility. Rather than trading for an All-Star caliber player whose ceiling will give Charlotte hopes of a Play-In appearance.