Michael Jordan made headlines in more than one way Monday afternoon. The Charlotte Hornets owner talked about the team’s rising hype and overall buzz after a visit to Hornets Nest Elementary in Charlotte where he, Lowe’s and Fox Sports South donated a quarter of a million dollars to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
“This year we have a lot of flexibility, and I've been speaking to that over the last three or four years,” Jordan said to the media at the team's community service day. “Flexibility is very important, and we are going to use every resource to try to better the team.”
Jordan was adamant about the direction of his team, explaining that the Hornets’ $13 million in free-agent spending money and a trio of draft picks give the team a chance to make a “big difference” this offseason.
The picks—No. 9, No. 24 and No. 45—could add some depth to a young Charlotte squad that could return all five starters if Josh McRoberts doesn’t opt out of his contract.
Keeping McRoberts alongside veteran Al Jefferson and rising star Kemba Walker would give the Hornets a returning core that now has some playoff experience, even if that experience is limited to four losses to Miami.
“I think we made a difference last year with Big Al [Jefferson] and some of the acquisitions, and I don’t anticipate this year being any different,” Jordan said.
The spending money and picks could provide Charlotte with a few more deep threats. The Hornets’ best three-point shooter in 2013-2014 was Anthony Tolliver, who averaged just 6.1 points per game, at 41.3 percent.
They could also look to use their lottery pick on a true scorer and playmaker to compliment Walker, as they already have one of the best on-ball defenders in the game in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Jordan believes that Charlotte can nab some higher end players in the coming months, though he wouldn't say specifically what positions the team would target.
“I always thought Charlotte was a great destination,” Jordan said. “Big Al has proven that you can come here and make a big difference. Hopefully we can look at that and attract some other superstars.”
Jefferson was the only Eastern Conference player to average 20 points and 10 rebounds per game this season, and he could carry a squad of youngsters deep into the playoffs in 2015.
Basketball aside, the Hornets got a win on Monday afternoon, as #SwarmtoServe brought the community Charlotte a little bit closer and boosted excitement about their beloved Hornets.