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February 28, 2010

Should "Bobcats'' name depart, too?

If Michael Jordan listens to his customers, and potential customers, he'll seriously consider a name change from "Bobcats'' once his purchase of Charlotte's NBA franchise is complete.

Too many of you have emailed me with that suggestion not to think it's an issue to many Charlotteans. You didn't like Bob Johnson naming the team after himself, and you sure don't see this as a positive once Johnson is no longer majority owner.

This wouldn't be cheap. I spoke with an NBA executive who estimated it would cost the franchise anywhere from $3 million to $10 million to rebrand the team. There are so many signs and logos that would have to be replaced, and any pre-existing merchandise gets deeply discounted or thrown away. (Example: You could have bought an Adam Morrison jersey REALLY cheap last March.)

By the way -- that same NBA insider who estimated the cost at $3-$10 million said it would be money well spent.

Posted by Observer Sports on February 28, 2010 at 10:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (193)

February 27, 2010

Players don't care who signs the checks

I found this amusing, thought you would, too.

Stephen Jackson was at the CIAA tournament Saturday. Observer reporter David Scott walked over to ask Jackson what he thought of Michael Jordan buying control of the Bobcats.

"He got it, really?" Jackson replied.

So for those of you who thought the players might be distracted by the ownership uncertainty, and that was a factor in losing three in a row, not so much.

They care that they get paid. They don't care who signs the checks.

Posted by Observer Sports on February 27, 2010 at 09:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (16)

Brown elated Jordan is staying

My colleague, Robbi Pickeral of the News and Observer of Raleigh, found Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown at the North Carolina-Wake Forest game. Brown's comments to Robbi about Michael Jordan buying control of the team:

"It means everything. We all love him and respect him and want him involved. ... I can't imagine the NBA without Michael, and from my standpoint personally, he's the reason I went there, and he's been phenomenal to me. So if it's good for Michael, it's good for me, and good for anybody."

(Does it change the dynamics of the team? Does it really change anything?)

"Bob Johnson was a good owner, as far as I'm concerned. I know how competitive Michael is, I know how bright he is, I know how committed he is. He's allowed me to do my job, and I know he cares, so I think it's real important that we have closure on this thing and it's even more important to know that he's the head of the Bobcats."

(Are you glad it's done, because this has gone on for a while?)

"I don't know how the players were affected by it; I know it was on Michael's mind, and the fact that it was a difficult time for him, it was a difficult time for me and my staff because we have so much respect for him."

(Any idea who the minority owners are?)

"No, and I don't know what (Jordan's) role is. I hope he's the primary owner and the head of it all, because I don't think there's anybody better or more qualified to do what he does."

Posted by Observer Sports on February 27, 2010 at 02:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Stern on Jordan approval process

A statement Saturday morning by NBA commissioner David Stern:

"We have been anticipating an agreement for transfer of a majority interest n the Bobcats and are pleased it has occurred.  Bob Johnson brought theexcitement of the NBA back to Charlotte and I am certain that as Michael Jordan returns to his home state as the principal owner of the Bobcats the team will continue its growth as a success on the court, as a business success and as a valued community asset.  We expect the expedited approval process to be completed by the end of next month."

Posted by Observer Sports on February 27, 2010 at 01:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Statement from George Postolos

Statement from former Houston Rockets president George Postolos on Bob Johnson choosing to sell the Charlotte Bobcats to Michael Jordan:

"I remain committed to becoming an NBA owner, and I’m glad that Michael will continue to bring his talent to the sport and the league.'' 

Posted by Observer Sports on February 27, 2010 at 02:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Jordan buys the Bobcats

By Rick Bonnell


MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Now we find out how the Charlotte Bobcats will operate with Michael Jordan truly in charge.

  In the early hours of Saturday morning, Bobcats majority owner Bob Johnson announced he’s selling control of the team to Jordan, the Hall of Fame player who has overseen the Bobcats’ basketball operation the past few years.

  Jordan beat out former Houston Rockets president George Postolos, who led an investor group looking to buy the team. Johnson contacted Postolos late Friday to inform him that Jordan would be buying the team.

  It was not immediately clear who will be in Jordan’s ownership group. Sources said he was still recruiting investors in the past few days through various intermediaries.

  Jordan had a deal with Johnson to be an equity partner and oversee the basketball operation. Included in that agreement was a right of first refusal to buy control if Johnson chose to sell. Johnson has lost tens of millions on the Bobcats and it appears unlikely he would recoup his original investment of a $300 million expansion fee, plus $30 million in working capital.

  Jordan has served in his current role with the Bobcats since 2006, after a less than amicable parting with the Washington Wizards, where he also controlled basketball decisions.

 He chose two of the Bobcats' top executives, president Fred Whitfield and general manager Rod Higgins. Both are among Jordan's closest friends.

  In Charlotte, Jordan’s best moves have included hiring coach Larry Brown and trading for Stephen Jackson, Tyrus Thomas and Boris Diaw. Other moves, including drafting Adam Morrison and hiring former coach Sam Vincent, were more questionable.

    The Bobcats are in contention for what would be the franchise’s first playoff spot. Friday night they beat the Memphis Grizzlies to break a three-game losing streak.

  Jordan’s purchase of the team is subject to approval by owners of the other 29 NBA franchises. However, he already has the endorsement of league commissioner David Stern.

  Responding to an Observer question during the Saturday of All-Star Weekend, Stern said, “I like the level, (the) increased level, of Michael’s involvement and if Michael were a buyer, that would be a good thing.’’

  Jordan hasn’t commented recently, concerning his interesting in buying the team, but he was emphatic with Brown recently about how hard he was trying.

  “I’m trying my hardest to get this thing done,’’ Brown quoted Jordan as telling him on Feb. 15, the first practice following All-Star break.

  Brown has hinted several times that his interest in remaining with the Bobcats could hinge on whether Jordan continued with the franchise.

“Anytime I read a possibility Michael isn’t going to be involved, it impacts my family and me. I came here because of him – no other reason,’’ Brown said Feb. 15. “After I got here, I realized there are a lot of real pluses to being here. But I wouldn’t have thought about’’ coaching the Bobcats had Jordan not asked.

  “Selfishly, I just don’t want to see Michael not involved.’’

Posted by Observer Sports on February 27, 2010 at 02:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Statement from Johnson on sale to Jordan

Bob Johnson's statement:

Robert L. Johnson, the majority owner of Bobcats Sports and Entertainment today announced that he has signed a definitive agreement to sell majority interest of Bobcats Sports and Entertainment to Michael Jordan and MJ Basketball Holdings, LLC.  The deal is subject to NBA approval.  Further details of the sale will be provided by the NBA.

Posted by Observer Sports on February 27, 2010 at 01:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (23)

Jordan gets the Bobcats

Michael Jordan is buying control of the Bobcats. More to follow.

Posted by Observer Sports on February 27, 2010 at 01:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

A Grizzlies post-mortem

-- Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown said that was Stephen Jackson's best all-around game as a Bobcat. Translation: Even beyond those 32 points, Jackson had 11 rebounds and played terrific defense. If Chauncey Billups heard Brown praising Jackson about this game, he'd smile knowingly: Billups got it about pleasing Brown when he realized "I score, therefore I am'' almost never satisfies him (unless you're Allen Iverson, and that was a special case on a team full of people who did other things).

-- Tyrus Thomas has been nothing short of spectacular so far, particularly when you remember he's still not that familar with the offense. He's averaging 3.4 blocks per game as a Bobcat. It's a shame the Memphis game wasn't televised in Charlotte, because Thomas had one of those hang-in-the-air-forever dunks. Maybe you can find it on youtube.

-- D.J. Augustin had a rough trip. In the four road games he went a combined 2-of-24 from the field. Since Augustin doesn't get a ton of assists (four in 70 minutes on the trip) and can struggle defensively (Utah's Deron Williams exploited him in the post) he has to make jump shots to contribute.. Didn't happen on the road.

-- Nazr Mohammed (back spasms) told me post-game he's feeling steadily better. We'll see whether that gets him back on the court Monday versus the Dallas Mavericks, the only NBA team the Bobcats have never beaten.

-- Had the Bobcats not won Friday, with the Mavericks, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers on the horizon, this easily could have stretched into a seven-game losing streak.

Posted by Observer Sports on February 27, 2010 at 01:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

February 26, 2010

Relatively good news on Chandler

According to Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown, center Tyson Chandler got as encouraging a report from a New York foot specialist as he or the team could hope.

The doctor, who operated on Chandler last spring, said he didn't see a need for further surgery or for Chandler to sit out an extended period of time. Chandler has played just three games since Christmas, due to various left foot and ankle ailments.

Since there was no expectation Chandler could play Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies, Chandler flew home to Charlotte from New York.

Although he felt better Thursday and Friday, center Nazr Mohammed (back spasms) appears also to be out versus the Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies might be without backup point guard Jamaal Tinsley due to a sore hamstring.

Posted by Observer Sports on February 26, 2010 at 07:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (14)