NBA: 5 Things Michael Jordan Must Do to Make the Charlotte Bobcats a Contender
Michael Jordan's Charlotte Bobcats are mediocre. They have a team that is built to win now, a coach that has a mentality to win now, and a roster that will be scrapping just to make the playoffs. The Bobcats have made a number of poor decisions in the past that have left them up against the salary cap.
Acquiring players like Gana Diop and Nazr Mohammed—who have ridiculous salaries for what they bring to the table—were short-sighted moves that have hampered Charlotte. If Jordan is serious about turning the Bobcats around and truly bringing back basketball to Charlotte he's going to have to make tough decisions.
To sum up the state of the Bobcats in one sentence: they're going to have to get worse in order to become great.
With that being said here is what MJ must do to make Charlotte a championship contender.
Trade Stephen Jackson Sooner Than Later
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
Making the playoffs for the first time mostly came down to the fact that the Bobcats traded for Stephen Jackson. Jackson is a tough competitor and a go-to-guy when the offensive gets stagnant.
He's also expensive, getting up there in age (32), and simply not good enough to carry a team to a championship hence why the Bobcats were promptly swept by the Orlando Magic in four games. Jackson still could be a valuable asset to a team that is looking to add another scorer and in exchange for young talent along with a draft pick it would be wise for the Bobcats to move him.
There's still three years left on Jackson's deal which means Charlotte could be stuck paying him 10 million when he's 35 years old if they don't move him.
Captain Jack was terrific in helping the Bobcats make the playoffs for the first time last season, but unless Charlotte is content with fighting to be the last team in and first out of the playoffs over the next few years they'll need to move him.
A few other things that bother me about Jackson is his inconsistent effort on both ends of the floor when things aren't going his way and his inability to make smart basketball decisions throughout the course of a game.
Let Larry Go
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
MJ has consistently stated that he wants Larry Brown coaching the Bobcats as long as Brown wants to. While that doesn't sound like a bad idea it could actually be holding Charlotte back.
Brown isn't going to be coaching this team two years from now and I'd be surprised if he's back after this season. But instead of giving Brown the option after this season is over Jordan needs to go out and find his replacement.
Let's face it Larry isn't going to coach a team that is rebuilding, which means MJ is going to continue to have to trot out a mediocre roster that is the eighth or ninth best team in the Eastern conference and that can compete for a playoff spot.
What Charlotte needs to do is find a coach that is willing to go through the rebuilding process.
As long as Brown is on the bench the Bobcats will churn out 30-40 wins a year and remain in the overall scheme of things, irrelevant.
Like Jackson, Brown isn't the guy that will take the Bobcats to the NBA finals.
Find a Franchise Player
Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images
Gerald Wallace is not a franchise player, but at the moment he's the closet thing the Bobcats have to one. The second closest would be Tyrus Thomas? D.J. Augustin?
If you told me three years from now that not one player on the current roster would still be on the team I would believe it.
That's a problem. Excuse me. That's a HUGE problem.
Simply put, the Bobcats have drafted so poorly and relied on acquiring veteran players through trades that they don't have cap space to sign a big free agent and aren't bad enough to acquire a potential franchise player through the draft. And when they have in the past they've blown it (Adam Morrison).
Jordan has to find a face for the franchise because Wallace and Jackson aren't it.
You want fans to buy tickets? Then find a guy worth paying the price of admission to see because this Charlotte team has no future with the current roster as is.
Hire a New General Manager and Let New GM Have Control
Andrew Burton/Getty Images
MJ needs to cut ties with his buddy Ron Higgins and hire somebody that won't be a Yes man. As of now Higgins has made a number of blunders, although the blame should be laid upon the shoulders of Jordan and Brown.
But the Bobcats need Jordan to cede most of his personnel decisions to a new general manager who has a good track record. Something Higgins nor Jordan possess.
As I've stated earlier the Bobcats are stuck in mediocrity and it will remain that way unless they make some big changes. If Jordan wants to go down as a great owner he's going to have to let others make the majority of the basketball decisions.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Things could have turned out different for the Bobcats if they would have drafted better and not missed on so many picks. Charlotte's best draft pick thus far has been Wallace in the expansion draft. After that it would be Raymond Felton who was drafted No. 5 overall behind Deron Williams and Chris Paul—Charlotte could have traded up with Portland to land Paul or Williams but they opted to stay where they were.
Felton is no longer with the team after he became to pricey for the Bobcats to afford. With Augustin running the point now—Augustin was drafted one pick ahead of Brook Lopez even though the Bobcats already had Felton—it will be soon be known whether or not he can become an effective starter.
Charlotte needs to start over after this season and clear the slate. They need to sacrifice a season or two in order to acquire one or two pieces that can be built around. That is of course if they ever want to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy.
MJ has six rings the question now is will he ever add a seventh. Unless he changes the direction the franchise is going it could be a team stuck in the middle for a very long time.