SBD/September 12, 2012/Franchises

Michael Jordan Commits To Owner's Role, Allowing GM To Make Basketball Decisions

Jordan has put responsibility for the team's success or failure on GM Rich Cho
Bobcats Owner Michael Jordan “has removed himself from the equation” and has "promised his front office staff that he'll let them do their jobs without his shadow looming over their war-room marker boards,” according to Ryan McGee of ESPN THE MAGAZINE. Jordan has “handed over the reins of the Bobcats to a next-generation GM [Rich Cho], armed with high-level metrics, to do for Charlotte what he helped do for Oklahoma City -- and in doing so, salvage Jordan's flagging basketball reputation.” When Cho was hired in June '11, former GM Rod Higgins was promoted to President of Basketball Operations, "Jordan's old position." Meanwhile, the team’s new coach is “roll-of-the-dice hire Mike Dunlap, a 55-year-old rookie.” An NBA GM said, "Every single one of those moves is evidence that Michael is serious about getting out of the way. They are now going to succeed or fail with Rich. And I can guarantee you that Michael has made sure that Rich knows that." Cho said that when left the Trail Blazers GM position to work for the Bobcats, his "marching orders from Jordan were simple and specific -- build through the draft and get free agents to complement the youngsters and put them over the top.” McGee writes the “old Jordan, by his own admission, believed that if he cleared enough cap space, he could personally lure the likes of Chris Paul and Dwight Howard.” But as he "learned last year, even ‘MJ’ appearing on their caller IDs wasn't enough to offset the lure of LA.” Jordan "finally seems to have experienced the same epiphany that eventually came to Magic Johnson and Larry Bird -- that the same ‘I'll outwork you’ skills that shattered opponents on the hardwood don't have the same effect at a mahogany desk.” Bobcats front office execs said that Jordan “has been sticking to his new plan, stepping away from the draft board and into the boardroom” (ESPN THE MAGAZINE, 9/17 issue).
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