Bobcats owner Michael Jordan did an interview Thursday with Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer that covered a wide range of topics. From the possibility the franchise could make a name change should New Orleans give up the Hornets to comparing the versatility and attitude of rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with Scottie Pippen as a “connector” for the lineup.
Oh, and that players have already gone to Jordan to complain about the lengthy practices of new coach Mike Dunlap.
Maybe it’s an ominous beginning for Dunlap as a first-time NBA head coach with more experience dealing with players in the college game. Maybe it is more a very bad sign about the players trying to respond to a 7-59 season and not even being able to make it to opening night before griping about being overworked. Either way, it looks bad in so many ways for the Bobcats.
Dunlap was a surprise hire in June only because the announcement came without his name ever being linked to the job. The perception game turned it into a risk hire by Jordan, but in reality, Dunlap was a well-respected basketball man with a long history on the bench. The Warriors’ move for Mark Jackson the season before, among others, was a much bigger gamble, only better disguised by name recognition.
This is still about the perception game because Dunlap has already been wounded before so much as reaching the regular season. He is quickly getting a reputation as a task master driving the roster into the ground. Someone save the players!
When that someone is Michael Jordan, the issue is elevated. Anything with MJ is, of course, but in this case it is the Jordan whose resume’ as an executive has been used as a piñata for years. Dunlap is not just his hire. Dunlap is also about his credibility.
How many players went to Jordan is not known, and there is obviously a difference in a few coming to him with a concern and a full-scale mutiny. He said he sent them away with the message to stop griping and that the Bobcats need the drilling on fundamentals.
“You can’t say we don’t need that stuff,” he told the Observer. “If so, we wouldn’t be going 7-59 as a team.”
Jordan said he also told players: “Either you’re in or you’re not going to be here.” No word yet whether they took that as a threat.
Charlotte was going to be one of the intriguing watches anyway. How will Bismack Biyombo develop? How will the Dunlap hire turn out? How much can Kidd-Gilchrist’s shot be fixed? The storylines were numerous anyway. Another just got added.