Retracing Every Bad Decision in Michael Jordan's Tenure as an Owner
Michael Jordan is arguably the best basketball player of all time.
He's also arguably one of the worst talent evaluators of all time.
An iron fist has been cast over the Charlotte Bobcats since Michael Jordan arrived as talent evaluator, minority owner, president of basketball operations and eventually majority owner of the team.
That iron first that he has clinched so tightly for over a decade (spanning all the way back to the Washington Wizards) is finally being loosened. Perhaps realizing his way just isn't working, Jordan has finally relinquished his grasp of the Charlotte Bobcats, handing the controls over to Rich Cho.
Rich Cho, thankfully, knows how to evaluate basketball talent.
Not all of Jordan's decisions have been abominable, but many of them have been quite devastating. This is a franchise that has only made the postseason once in its existence (also its only winning season) and just finished a historically bad season.
It's time to take a look back at some of the terrible decisions Jordan has made over the course of his career as a basketball executive.
1: Deciding to Become a Basketball Executive
Well, let's get to the root of bad decisions.
Michael Jordan attended the University of North Carolina, a fantastic school. He has an immense basketball IQ that most would look at and think, of course he can judge talent in the NBA.
Wrong. Dead wrong.
For whatever reason, Jordan's talent on the court and his knowledge of the sport has not translated to office work and talent evaluation. His decision to become an executive immediately after retirement is where his troubles began.
Jordan should have taken some seasons off. Played some golf, gambled, done whatever he wanted to. But at the same time, he should have kept up with basketball over the course of the early 2000s to see where the game was heading.
Instead, he tried to lead the NBA in a direction and failed miserably.
It was not a well-thought out plan by Jordan. However, anyone who would have said no to the best basketball player of all time would have been ostracized from the sport, so there was no stopping who would become a tyrant in this game.
2: Drafting Kwame Brown
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Obvious. Just plain obvious.
Jordan's first order of business was to draft Kwame Brown, a high school seven-footer who, by all accounts, should have been great.
But he wasn't. He was bad. He was really bad, and he still is really bad. I think it's a fair statement to say that Brown qualifies as the biggest No. 1 draft bust in NBA history.
Can all the blame be placed on Jordan? Certainly not. Brown is a physical specimen, and at the time of the draft looked like the real deal.
His character? Cocky. But who cared, he was about to become the first high schooler drafted No. 1 overall in NBA history.
Brown has since become a laughingstock in the NBA, and Jordan has been brought down because of it. Kwame Brown was a surefire top-three pick regardless, so it's not fair to place it all on Jordan, but it was ultimately his decision to pass on guys like Tyson Chandler, Pau Gasol, Joe Johnson and many more for Brown.
We know how that turned out.
3: Trading for DeSagana Diop
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DeSagana Diop is a joke. Flat out.
Another big man from 2001, another big-time bust from that draft, and another big man whose big salary Michael Jordan decided to take on.
The Charlotte Bobcats are paying Gana over $7 million to sit as far down the bench as is humanly possible.
They did it by trading Matt Carroll (another blemish on this team's zit-covered history) and Ryan Hollins. Neither players were any good, but Diop is worth less than both combined.
His salary and the fact that the Bobcats became responsible for it for four seasons is unforgivable.
What's worse is that MJ knew how bad Gana was. Sure, he had some defensive skills, he can block a shot every once in a while, and sometimes when he's not winded from jogging down court he can grab a rebound, but other than that, he has absolutely no value.
And Michael Jordan saw fit to trade and pay roughly $6 million per year on a center who wouldn't start in the D-League.
4: Trading Gerald Wallace
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I took this one personally. Sorry. It probably wasn't Jordan's worst move as an executive, but it was the one that cut the deepest.
It was at that point as a Charlotte Basketball fan that I knew bad times were ahead. Wallace was the face of the franchise, and he was given away for three players worth virtually nothing (as far as talent and money went) and two draft picks with ridiculous protections.
Gerald Wallace was the face of the franchise, and a really good player. He was the heartbeat of the Bobcats, and he wanted to be a Bobcat, something few players in this franchise can say. He was an excellent player, a role model, and Jordan threw him away to slash payroll and look to the future.
I guess he didn't realize the future was a turd in the toilet.
Charlotte will get the Portland Trail Blazers' first round pick if it is outside of the top 12, which will be valuable. The Blazers are a good team this year, but very young, lack depth and play in a very deep Western Conference.
The pick isn't protected out of the top 12 until 2016.
He turned Gerald Wallace into Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks and two first round picks.
Haven't seen the fruits of that trade yet.
5: Drafting Adam Morrison
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Another big "duh" moment here, even worse than Kwame Brown in my opinion.
Jordan knew going into the 2006 draft that Adam Morrison was not the best player left at third overall.
Regardless of the reasoning behind the pick, Jordan made a colossal mistake with Morrison. He was a bust from the word go, and anyone with half a brain could have watched him in college and figured out that the way he played was not going to lead to success in the NBA.
So he passed Brandon Roy, he passed Rudy Gay, he skipped a chance to move up to draft LaMarcus Aldridge, and he drafted another one of the worst draft busts in NBA history.
We don't have to talk extensively about this. Everyone knows the tragedy of Adam Morrison. He sucked. He was fantastic in college, but his game could not have translated worse into the NBA.
The pick was completely idiotic, and the decision to draft Adam Morrison over guys who could have put this franchise on a much, much better path will haunt Michael Jordan's legacy for as long as anyone remembers Jordan's name.
Morrison, the pick that lived in infamy.
6: Trading Emeka Okafor
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Six years, $72 million. That's how much Emeka Okafor cost the Bobcats when they re-signed him.
And then immediately traded him for an underachieving Tyson Chandler.
Don't get me wrong. Chandler is on his way up the ladder now, and is considered one of the best defensive big men in the game while Okafor has been hampered with injuries over the years.
Are either of them on the team right now? Well, no. Thanks, Michael.
Okafor is still an excellent basketball player, and at his best, worth every bit of that money. He was worth the contract, and giving him up for a commodity the Bobcats didn't need was completely pointless. If the Bobcats didn't want to spend the money, they should have let him walk outright and tried to save the money for other players.
Instead the Cats got Chandler, who didn't really do anything as a Bobcat, and lost another franchise center piece.
Jordan was flashing his cards at that point. Bobcats fans knew what was coming. Complete deconstruction, and some very dark years.
7: Drafting D.J. Augustin
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Okay, this one isn't the worst either. But it's still bad enough that I need to include it and discuss it briefly on this list.
D.J. Augustin was drafted ninth overall in the 2008 NBA draft out of the University of Texas, and immediately pegged as the point guard of the future.
Four years later, the Bobcats withdrew their meager qualifying offer for the restricted free agent Augustin because they had a newer, shinier point guard of the future in Kemba Walker.
Why? Because Augustin wasn't very good.
Don't get me wrong, he's not a bad player, and he'll probably do well with the Indiana Pacers, but he completely lacked energy and confidence in Charlotte. Maybe it's because he knew he was playing for a bad team.
Maybe it's because he wasn't as talented as Michael Jordan thought. Probably both.
There were plenty of much better players drafted after Augustin (including Brook Lopez immediately after him).
Augustin wasn't an Adam Morrison debacle, but it was worth mentioning.
8: The Charlotte Bobcats Rebuilding Plan
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Oh boy. The big one.
Goodbye Gerald Wallace, Stephen Jackson, Emeka Okafor and anyone else who made this team worth watching, hello complete and utter incompetence.
The worst team the NBA has ever seen was built.
Jordan systematically jettisoned everything of value in Charlotte and made this team as bad as possible. While I agree that the team needed to be rebuilt, it could have gone a lot smoother than this.
We didn't have to watch Boris Diaw, DeSaganna Diop, Corey Maggette and a bunch of other over-weight, under-enthused players walk up and down the court letting the other team score. We didn't have to watch Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo try their hardest to make a mark and fail because no one else cared.
We could have watched a bad team, sure, but Jordan put the Bobcats through the worst season of all time.
The fact is, I could keep going. This slideshow could be a hundred pages long. Jordan has done nothing to make the Bobcats a better team, and he finally realizes that. Rich Cho is Charlotte's savior.
Rebuilding will be tough, but this season we're going to go from watching a nauseatingly bad team to a team that is bad, but not bad to the point of sickness. And the only thing we have to thank Jordan for is giving up on trying things his way.
9: Everything Else
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Look, I know I didn't cover everything, but when you really look at what happened in Charlotte (and briefly, Washington), you'll understand if I just lay you with the big screw ups.
Some other notable horrible moves:
Matt Carroll back and forth with the organization, being paid a ton of money to do nothing. Whatever Jordan likes about him, I don't see.
Tyrus Thomas's huge contract and lack of production. I haven't given up hope on Thomas yet, so I won't include him fully in this presentation. He hasn't lived up to his five-year, $40 million contract yet, though.
Missed Opportunities have marked a huge blemish on Jordan's legacy. Whether it was a chance to move up in the draft, get more draft picks, get better players in trades, get better players in drafts, he's screwed up. A lot. As I found in researching this article, too many screw ups to list for this to be a readable slide show.
But things are looking up, Charlotte fans. Rich Cho is here, he wants to rebuild, and Jordan is letting him do his things. We have a slew of draft picks coming our way eventually, and I can't wait to see this team get picked up. Just as long as Jordan keeps his hands off talent evaluation.