Michael Jordan: Off-season changes likely for Bobcats

rbonnell@charlotteobserver.comMarch 20, 2013 

Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan told an audience of season-ticket holders Tuesday that he anticipates off-season change and that everyone in the organization – basketball and business side – will be evaluated come spring.

Jordan was speaking to about 100 of the team’s highest-spending customers, as they decide whether to renew their ticket plans. He sat on a panel with team president Fred Whitfield and general manager Rich Cho. Former San Antonio Spurs guard Bruce Bowen served as a moderator for the event.

Media were not allowed to attend, but one season-ticketholder described what happened, on condition of anonymity. Jordan declined, through a team official, to elaborate on his Tuesday comments.

Jordan told the audience he’s as frustrated as anyone by the team’s 15-52 record, worst in the NBA, following a 7-59 lockout-shortened season a year ago.

During a question-and-answer session, Jordan was asked specifically about the performance of first-year head coach Mike Dunlap. The customer said he could see progress in some of the team’s younger players but that Dunlap didn’t seem to be getting much from the veterans (i.e. Ben Gordon, Brendan Heywood and Tyrus Thomas).

Jordan was non-committal in his assessment of Dunlap. But that’s when he made the general statement that everyone in the organization will be re-evaluated at the end of the season.

Last spring the Bobcats chose not to offer then-coach Paul Silas a contract extension. In June they hired Dunlap, whose NBA experience was two seasons as an assistant with the Denver Nuggets. Dunlap is the Bobcats’ fourth head coach since the 2007-08 season.

Among other subjects addressed with the season-ticket holders:

• Cho was asked about the perception the 2013 NBA draft won’t be particularly strong. Cho replied the 2014 draft could be very rich, and that the Detroit Pistons owing the Bobcats a future first-round pick, with little protection, could be quite valuable. The Bobcats took on next season on Gordon’s contract, at a cost of about $13 million, to acquire that pick.

• The Bobcats told the season-ticket holders no decision has been made on whether a nickname change is appropriate, and are completing research, both with customers and the general public, on the issue.

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