Michael Jordan Reportedly in 'Serious Talks' to Sell Majority Stake in Hornets

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMarch 16, 2023

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 03: Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan looks on during their game against the Orlando Magic at Spectrum Center on March 03, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Michael Jordan is in "serious talks" to sell a portion of his stake in the Charlotte Hornets, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Jordan would retain a minority stake in the franchise, but Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall would become the co-governors.

Plotkin is a minority owner of the Hornets, while Schnall is a minority owner of the Atlanta Hawks.

This would be a great time for Jordan to sell up.

In December, Mat Ishbia agreed to purchase a controlling stake in the Phoenix Suns as well as the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury from Robert Sarver for $4 billion. Two months later, Marc Lasry agreed to sell his stake in the Milwaukee Bucks to Jimmy and Dee Haslam in a transaction that valued the team at $3.5 billion.

Whether he sells now or at another date down the road, Jordan stands to earn a significant profit on the $275 million he spent to purchase the Hornets from Bob Johnson in 2010. Sportico valued them at $1.77 billion in December, a figure that could be well below any final price. The Suns, for example, were valued at $3 billion.

Hornets fans might welcome an ownership change.

While Charlotte hasn't experienced much dysfunction and mismanagement since Jordan took over, it hasn't seen a ton of success either. The Hornets have made three playoff trips during his tenure and lost in the first round each time.

The franchise has consistently whiffed on draft picks, and Jordan's profile hasn't helped Charlotte land marquee free agents.

The run of futility strikes quite the contrast with MJ's playing career, when his desire to win was legendary.

The Hornets' fortunes aren't guaranteed to improve with new owners, but it's hard to see how they'd be much worse with someone else in control.