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Michael Jordan called the Thunder about trading for James Harden, and other interesting tales

Nov 1, 2012, 8:45 PM EDT

Michael Jordan AP

In a wide-ranging interview with Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, Michael Jordan said a lot of things that may be of interest to fans of both the Bobcats and the NBA alike.

One of the more interesting notes to fans of the league in general was the fact that Jordan said he “made some calls” to inquire about the availability of James Harden, before the Thunder ended up trading him to Houston for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and a bag of basketballs some draft picks.

The entire transcript of the interview is worth a read, if only because Jordan doesn’t often make himself available in this way. But there’s also a bullet-point version, which we’ll duplicate below along with some thoughts on each.

– Jordan said the franchise is open to a nickname switch should New Orleans Hornets owner Tom Benson follow through on changing that team’s name (and Hornets becomes available once again).

The team’s nickname, colors, and uniforms are the least of Charlotte’s problems. The Bobcats have been over .500 just once in the team’s eight years since moving to Charlotte, and a history of questionable draft picks and decisions (or non-decisions) in free agency have them poised to repeat the feat in season number nine. The correct answer here from Jordan should have been an angry one taling about how he’s focused on the product on the court, and not the product in the gift shop.

– Jordan told players to stop complaining about new coach Mike Dunlap’s lengthy practices. “You can’t sit here and look yourself in the mirror and say we don’t need this stuff. If that was the case, we shouldn’t have been a 7-59 team. So in essence when you’re a 7-59 team, you go back to the basics, you go back to try and figure out a way, OK, we need to do this thing the right way. Either you buy in or you’re not a part of this whole process.”

In today’s NBA — or realistically, even in today’s society — players aren’t going to be able to focus for practices that last for three-plus hours. They’re just not. It’s easy to talk about your eight- or nine-hour work day and try to relate it to twenty-something athletes trying to focus on improving their fundamentals for a few hours, but it isn’t the same thing. I’m with Jordan that in principle, players should suck it up and get on the page. But reality says that Dunlap should be an effective enough communicator to be able to condense his message so his players are able to digest it over a shorter period of time.

– Jordan said the Bobcats “made a couple of calls’’ about shooting guard James Harden’s availability before the Oklahoma City Thunder traded Harden to the Houston Rockets this week.

This sounds exciting if (for some sick, sick reason) you’re actually a Bobcats fan, but in reality, 25 of the 30 NBA teams likely made the obligatory phone call to Sam Presti before Harden was ultimately dealt to the Rockets. This is what NBA GMs do — they make calls to other teams, on a fairly consistent basis, to see who’s available and who isn’t to determine if there are any realistic deals to be made. Again, this sounds exciting, but these conversations take place constantly throughout the course of an NBA season.

– Jordan said he still believes the Bobcats could be an attractive destination for major free agents down the road, but “I also understand we’ve got to get our house in order, to make that attractive to people.’’

I’ve got nothing on this one. Truer words have never been spoken.

  1. surly1n1nd1anapol1s - Nov 1, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    You believe you cannot ask someone to focus for three hours? That’s ridiculous.

    • nbascreed - Nov 1, 2012 at 10:27 PM

      Not really. I played 4 years of college hoops. I can count on one hand how many 3 hour practices we had…ALL of which were punishment. Pre-season was 2.5 max with a 1.5 morning or night to round out two-a-days. I was very surprised to hear Dunlap doing this consistently and for Jordan backing him. Mike continues to show why he has no place in a front office. His logic (i.e. the team sucks) as to why the practices should be lengthy is flawed. Practicing plays, fundamentals, etc for 3+ hours won’t make the Bobcats materially better.

      • hoodheisman - Nov 2, 2012 at 1:15 AM

        Pat Riley would hold a 3-hour practice in morning…. then another 3-hour practice in the afternoon. You can’t count the number of NBA titles Pat Riley won on one hand….

      • rtfinch - Nov 2, 2012 at 8:21 AM

        at 7-59, you dont deserve to have a 3 hr punishing practice?

      • andyhr17 - Nov 2, 2012 at 10:20 AM

        In college you were not being paid millions of dollars a year to do it. This is not college, this is their career.

      • texxxasmade - Nov 2, 2012 at 5:17 PM

        nbascreed has nothing left to say.

  2. raidmagic - Nov 1, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    The money players make today they should focus as long as they are asked too. This is one of the main problems with society today. Everyone has an excuse why they can’t instead of nutting up and making it happen.

  3. mytthor - Nov 1, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    It’s not about the players trying to focus. It’s not possible to focus that long on something without taking a break. That’s why whether you’re in school or work you take your day in smaller chunks, breaks, lunches, etc. As a teacher, you have to let the kids get off topic for a few minutes once or twice an hour then bring them back, or they just go to sleep. The science says you can only focus really hardcore on any 1 thing for somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes.

    • tcclark - Nov 1, 2012 at 11:25 PM

      this logic only applies if they’re doing the exact same thing for 3 hours. Trust me. They’re not. They have a lot to work on. you break the 3 hours up into multiple drills, plays, and offensive and defensive sets. They get water breaks and a chance to sit down and have the coach go over a few things. They’re doing multiple things and this is supposed to be something they love doing, so they should be mentally fine practicing for 3 hours. The physical aspect is a different story all together.

  4. lakerluver - Nov 1, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    Why don’t MJ just sale the team already?!!

    • waxthat - Nov 2, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      sale yourself to the devil. moron.

  5. heathater4lifeson - Nov 2, 2012 at 2:18 AM

    Who would the bobcats have to offer the thunder? Kidd-gilchrist and a ton of picks?

    • tcclark - Nov 2, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      Kidd-Gilchrist, Ben Gordon and 2 draft picks might’ve been a better deal for the Thunder if the Cats were willing to offer it. Kidd-Gilchrist is better than lamb and the draft picks would have been better, plus Gordon is an effective bench scorer and a 43% three point shooter. His contract is a year longer than Martin’s however, and Martin is a more efficient player

  6. poohman1975 - Nov 2, 2012 at 7:32 AM

    7-59. 1 winning season in the last decade. Sounds like 3 hours is letting them off the hook. High School does it for 2 hours, they can’t do 3 for the money they make?

  7. metalhead65 - Nov 2, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    it is good that jordan is backing up his coach. how about you cry babies do what the rest of us with real jobs have to and do what the boss says? we may not like him and his stupid rules either but unlike you clowns we have no choice and do what we are told to earn our living.

    • cltbsktball - Nov 2, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      listen up folks> deal for the name switch has been in place for about 6 months now. benson agreed to give up the name (no $$$ fees) in exchange for “winning” the #1 pick, schtern told silver to relay the offer to MJ prior to draft , jordan agreed with adam silver (who was in charlotte prior to draft, while the “random” winner was at the draft “lotto” with his entire family) and the rest is a forgone conclusion thru this season (12-13). nothing in the world is free, MJ paid the price listed because the product he bought into is a flawed BRAND.

      look at it like this, if jordan bought a grocery store called ROTTEN GARBAGE GROCERIES and sold high quality organic food at great prices with a top notch staff in place, nobody in town would buy from the place no matter what deals he offered. but if he changed the name to something people identified with, something they wanted to be a part of and maybe even felt proud of like HUG FROM GRANDMAMA GROCERIES, people would flock to the store then.

      charlotte hornets 2.0 coming 2013-14.

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