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jayC
05-05-2003, 07:50 PM
Goin' to Carolina

Jordan may join Johnson's ownership team in Charlotte
Posted: Sunday May 04, 2003 7:24 PM
Updated: Sunday May 04, 2003 8:12 PM

Michael Jordan could be returning to his North Carolina roots. Rich Clarkson/Getty Images
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Michael Jordan is interested in a possible role with the Charlotte expansion team and has talked recently with owner Robert Johnson about buying in as a partner, The Associated Press has learned.

Johnson and Jordan have a publicly acknowledged friendship and have spoken frequently in recent years. But talks between the two men over the past three weeks have been different, including preliminary discussions over doing business together on the team Johnson bought last December for $300 million.

"He and Bob have been talking," a source with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

"A deal isn't close. It's just the beginning of the discussion," said the source, who indicated that possible stumbling blocks could be the amount of control Jordan would want and the purchase price. "It isn't going to be a freebie," the source added.

Exiting the Beltway
NEW YORK -- Michael Jordan's relationship with the Washington Wizards has deteriorated to the point that he and the franchise might part ways, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Citing two unidentified team executives, The Times said mounting player resentment toward Jordan, ownership's concerns about Jordan's work ethic as an executive, and Jordan's misgivings about the team's direction has left his future in doubt.

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The as-yet-unnamed team will begin play in the 2004-05 season.

The news of Jordan's possible involvement in Charlotte comes amid reports that his relationship with the Washington Wizards has deteriorated to the point where he and the franchise might part ways.

Jordan is expected to meet with Wizards majority owner Abe Pollin this week to discuss his future role with the team.

Jordan's talks with Johnson indicate that he is looking for alternative ventures that will keep him in the NBA -- even if it isn't in Washington. Jordan has ties to the area, having grown up in Wilmington, N.C., before playing for Dean Smith at North Carolina.

Johnson, the first black owner to hold a majority stake in a professional franchise, held discussions with Jordan in Washington, but Jordan was not initially interested, the source said.

"Bob Johnson stayed after him. He thinks (Jordan) would be a great asset to the team and the community. He would help sell tickets," source said.

Jordan retired as a player at the end of the regular season following a two-year comeback.

Before returning as a player, he sold his shares in Lincoln Holdings, which owns the Washington Capitals and a minority stake in the Wizards. Jordan also resigned as Washington's president of basketball operations.

It was widely expected that Jordan would repurchase his stake and take back his old front office job, but that may not happen.

"I've urged everyone in our circle not to say anything," said Jordan's agent, David Falk. "At some point people will sit down together and see what makes sense."
Messages left with spokesmen for the Wizards were not immediately returned.

"I am not aware of any discussions between Bob or anyone else in our organization with Michael about possible involvement with the team," said Chris Weiller, a spokesman for the charlotte team. "These talks have been rumored in the past because of Bob's friendship with Michael and the curiosity fueled by Michael's natural Carolina connection."

During a visit to Charlotte last week, Johnson deflected all questions about Jordan's possible involvement with his expansion team.

"Michael Jordan is under contract with the Washington Wizards until July 1," Johnson said Monday at a reception for the WNBA's Charlotte Sting. "Because he's under contract with another team, it is against league rules to discuss him."

Jordan once tried to buy into the Charlotte Hornets. But when negotiations with owner George Shinn broke down in 1999 over issues of control, he instead made a deal with the Wizards.

Since being awarded the NBA's 30th franchise, Johnson has said he was willing to sell shares in the team while holding onto the majority interest. There has been speculation since he applied for the new team that Johnson would try to involve Jordan in some capacity.

Johnson's top hire has thus far been Ed Tapscott, who as executive vice president and chief operating officer is responsible for all basketball and business decisions and answers directly to Johnson.

Tapscott said earlier this week that the team's general manager will be hired this summer and would be in charge of basketball operations. He said he was not interested in that role.

"It's kind of hard to run the day-to-day operations as well as everything else," Tapscott said. "I think the team deserves someone with a certain focus on the day-to-day things."

In his final season playing with Washington, the 40-year-old Jordan often criticized his teammates -- and some of them took shots at him in return -- as the Wizards stumbled to a 37-45 record and missed the playoffs for the second straight season.

The New York Times reported Sunday that mounting player resentment toward Jordan, ownership's concerns about Jordan's work ethic as an executive and Jordan's misgivings about the team's direction has left his future in doubt.

Also, The Washington Post quoted sources close to Jordan as saying that if Pollin attempts to curtail Jordan's influence during their upcoming meeting, or merely says something that unsettles him, Jordan could walk away.

Before Jordan returned as a player and was still team president, he attempted to run the Wizards from his home in Chicago, leading to criticism that he was not sufficiently active in the day-to-day running of the franchise.

The recent season ended in disarray for the Wizards, with coach Doug Collins complaining about players' lack of respect and with Jerry Stackhouse saying the team was looking forward to playing without Jordan.

According to The Times, many of Jordan's teammates were asked if they wanted to contribute to a goodbye gift. The collective answer was: No.

MavKikiNYC
05-05-2003, 09:10 PM
What was Unseld's 'leave' about?

Nash13
05-06-2003, 03:53 PM
Come back here Mike. We miss you in the NC. However, i'd doubt he would leave DC.