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Friday , Aug , 19 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Michael Jordan: A ‘Hard Cap’ Hypocrite?

"I can't say so much ... but I know the owners are not going to move off what we feel is very necessary for us to get a deal in place where we can co-exist as partners. We need a lot of financial support throughout the league as well as revenue sharing to keep this business afloat. Jordan said small-market teams would benefit greatly from a "hard" salary cap, and it would allow clubs such as Milwaukee to plan a future on key players including the Australian centre.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:
It rings hollow.

Yesterday Bobcats owner Michael Jordan said have-not markets, like Charlotte, need a hard salary cap to compete with the have markets.

Jordan is right. If the NBA wants parity, they must level the playing field with an NFL style cap and revenue sharing.

This is one part of the story, though. Owners like Jordan need to think about how they’ve run their business, and can't just tell players to sacrifice.

Can Jordan honestly say he’s done everything possible to manage the Bobcats responsibly?

The answer is no. It has to be.

Jordan, who also serves as the team’s head of basketball operations, signed off on or traded for several poor contracts.
 
There are four albatrosses currently on the roster: Matt Carroll ($4 million per annum) , Boris Diaw ($8 million per annum), DeSagana Diop ($7 million per annum), and Corey Maggette ($10 million per annum).

Tyrus Thomas has yet to reach his potential, however, that didn’t prevent Jordan from handing him a 5-year, $40 million pact last summer.

Jordan also drafted Adam Morrison, who is out of the NBA, ahead of Rudy Gay, a terrific athlete and talented scorer for the Memphis Grizzlies.

Clearly, Jordan has overpaid players. This would be forgivable if he was working as hard as possible. This hasn’t been the case.

Before becoming majority owner, Jordan didn’t do nearly enough to manage the roster effectively or forge ties with local businesses and people.

He was often photographed partying at clubs … in Chicago, in Miami, in anywhere but Charlotte. He took time off to attend the Super Bowl.

There was little attempt to form partnerships with Charlotte area companies. And he wanted appearance fees for attending community events.

Word, of course, spread quickly. And Charlotte fans - who were burned before by the NBA and the Hornets - stayed away.

To be fair, things improved once Jordan bought majority control from former BET King Bob Johnson. He moved to Charlotte and put in the work.

Jordan still bears some blame for the Bobcats’ situation. He can't ask the players to compromise on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement without being prepared to make further changes to how he runs his team.

Right now, his stance on the hard cap is hypocritical. 

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Saturday , Aug , 06 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Magic Johnson: Dream Team better than Redeem Team

"When you think about the Olympics and the Dream Team, I have to throw it to you," Johnson said. "Kobe [Bryant] and them won by 22 points. Ehh, 22 points? We won by an average of 44 points. So when they want to step up to that, you tell them we'll be waiting on them."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Michael, Magic, and Larry or Kobe, LeBron, and D-Wade?

It's a tough question, however, most fans assume the 1992 'Dream Team' that cruised to gold in Barcelona, Spain was the greatest team ever.

Magic Johnson, the point guard for the first American side that allowed professionals to participate in the Olympics, has no problem saying so.

Johnson recently said that the ‘92 squad would handle the 2008 squad, known as 'Redeem Team', that captured gold at the Beijing Olympics in China.

Perhaps.

I don’t buy Johnson’s argument about point differential, though. The former Laker believes the 92 squad’s wide margin of victory solidifies their status as the greatest ever.

However, I do believe the ‘92 squad trumps the ‘08 squad because they handled a terrifically talented and inspired Croatian team in the gold medal game.

--Oly Sandor.

Dream Team or Redeem Team? Well, get at HoopsVibe News with thoughts in the comment box below.

 

Iverson vs. Jordan vs. Kobe. Vol. Dat 40 streak
Tuesday , Jul , 26 , 2011 J.N.

Iverson vs. Jordan vs. Kobe. Vol. Dat 40 streak

The NFL lockout is over. If you’re an NBA fan, sucks to be one right now. If you’re also an NFL fan, it’s a great time. Right now, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and Kobe Bryant are hamming it up in the Phillippines. The highlights of their All Star game are up on Youtube. The quality is bad since the broadcast was on a stream, but you get the gist of it. Did Kobe travel on that lob pass to Rose? Yep, he sure did. Who cares though. I didn’t.

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Saturday , Jul , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Phil Jackson: Kobe wants to pass Jordan on all-time scoring list

But not many believed him, including Phil Jackson. When I asked the former Lakers coach last season which player Bryant wants to pass on the scoring list the most, Jackson replied without hesitation, "Michael Jordan."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Pandora’s Box known as Kobe vs. Mike is once again open, courtesy of their former coach Phil Jackson.

'Zen-Master' Phil told the L.A. Times last season that Kobe Bryant, of the Lakers, desperately wants to pass Michael Jordan, the Hall of Fame guard with the Chicago Bulls, on the league's all-time scoring list.

Bryant's reason for setting this goal is obvious: he wants his legacy to be greater than Jordan's.

Forget the all-time scoring list. One statistic proves Bryant can never top Jordan. The 'Black Mamba' has lost twice in the NBA Finals, while 'His Airness' was a perfect 6-0 in the championship series.

When the chips were on-the-line, when it mattered most, nobody was greater than Jordan. This is beyond dispute and outweighs the all-time scoring list. 

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

NBA 2K12 ft. Jordan, Bird, Magic. Really?
Saturday , Jul , 23 , 2011 J.N.

NBA 2K12 ft. Jordan, Bird, Magic. Really?

2K Sports has introduced NBA 2K12 to the world. People were questioning if Michael Jordan was going to be back. Have no fear. He’s back bringing along Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Each one has their own respective covers. It’s great to have the greats of the golden era represent the game, but it’s pathetic to know that the stars of today cannot sell the game. Terrible. Yet, 2K should not use these three figure heads to cover up weaknesses of past incarnations. That would be pathetic, too.

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Monday , Jul , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kobe Bryant bluffing about Europe or China?

“The one thing about basketball is it’s a global sport now, so you can play anywhere you want to.

“As far as myself, I just train. I just train and be prepared for anybody that calls, whether the NBA starts again or a team in Europe or a team here in China decides to call, then I’ll be ready…. (Kobe Bryant).

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: They both have their bluffs.

Right now, the NBA is locked-out, which means owners and players are doing anything and everything to gain leverage when negotiations begin.

Take the owners. They’re crying poor and claiming incredible losses. And they’re threatening to shut-down the season unless the players accept some form of a hard cap.

Will 30 billionaires really shut-down the NBA for 2011-12? Will they kill the momentum the league gained in 2010-11?

Well, this is the owners’ bluff. This is the card Commissioner Stern, Mark Cuban, and Michael Jordan have. Of course, the players have their bluff, too.

NBA superstars, like Kobe Bryant, are threatening to take their talent abroad. Possible destinations: Europe and China. Will Bryant, who is used to first-class treatment, really ride busses, stay in second-rate hotels, and deal with mediocre facilities just to prove a point?

Well, this is the players' bluff. Bryant and his brethren are making sure the owners know they have options. Even if those options don't appear especially attractive.

--Oly Sandor

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Friday , Jul , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Shaq on LeBron backlash: ‘it happened’ to Jordan, Rodman, Barkley, and Magic

“I would not characterize it as unfair because like I said, it happened to everyone. It happened to (Michael) Jordan when he went to Atlantic City to get away from the game. It happened to Barkley. It happened to (Dennis) Rodman. It happened to Magic (Johnson). It happens to everybody. If it just started this year I would call it unfair, but I’ve been in the game for 20 years and I’ve seen similar stories.” (Shaquille O'Neal on CNNSI podcast)

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Shaquille O’Neal has offered his first pearl of wisdom while gainfully employed as a TNT analyst.

‘The Big Broadcaster’ weighed-in on the scrutiny LeBron James faced after announcing he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers on national television last July.  

One the one hand, Shaq is right. Almost every superstar learned to win by losing. And almost every superstar faced a backlash for decisions on-or-off court.

On the other hand, Shaq is underestimating what James went through. Last season, he and the Miami Heat had a bulls-eye on their backs the size of, well, Shaq.

Yes, Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, Charles Barkley, and Magic Johnson dealt with criticism. But no, it was nothing compared to the burnt jerseys, backstabbing, and letter from a former owner that were thrown James' way.

Of course, James dug his grave. He empowered friends who had little business being empowered. He isolated himself. And he, or his wrongfully empowered friends, approved The Decision and The Pre-Emptive Championship Party.

Rather than learn, change, and hire a PR firm, he spent the 2010-11 season fighting upstream against the media. And he seems determined to continue putting himself out there, regardless of the consequences.

Shaq’s first take on James is open to interpretation. He did, however, succeed in getting us to talk, debate, and discuss.

And isn’t that the job of a broadcaster?

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

1984 NBA Draft: Best First Round Ever?
Sunday , Jul , 10 , 2011 Paul Eide

1984 NBA Draft: Best First Round Ever?

 

This was the last draft to be held prior to forming the NBA Draft Lottery for the following season. The picks were assigned in reverse order of how the teams had finished the previous season. The draft was actually ten rounds long, which seems excessive considering the two rounds total of this year’s draft.
 
NBA stars who can possibly reach near MJ level
Tuesday , Jul , 05 , 2011 J.N.

NBA stars who can possibly reach near MJ level

No. This is not an attempt to compare any of these guys to Michael Jordan. Nope. That has been beaten, raped, and pillaged to hell and back. This is more of an examination of the talent today that might have a chance to reach Jordan’s status. They are obviously not him and will not surpass him either. The goal is ridiculous anyway. However, getting close to Jordan is possible. It’s not out of the question. 

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What if the 2011-2012 season is cancelled?
Monday , Jul , 04 , 2011 J.N.

What if the 2011-2012 season is cancelled?

There is a possibility that this might happen. Right now, things look grim. People are trying to remain hopeful. This is not a doom piece, but I usually go about expecting the worst out of everything. That’s life because when things go right, there is nothing to complain about. With that in mind, let’s pretend that the season is done. It’s over. Now what? The last lockout back in 1998 had the NBA miss 32 games. The league lost a lot of fans. 

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There is no best player in the NBA today
Saturday , Jun , 18 , 2011 J.N.

There is no best player in the NBA today

We are back to what the NBA was when Michael Jordan retired for the first time in 1993. There is no true ultimate dominator in this league who is head and shoulders above everyone. Remember that time? Malone, Stockton, Olajuwon, Shaq, Kidd, Miller, Barkley, Richmond, Pippen, Payton, and more became prominent when Jordan left. As of 2011, there is no one head and shoulders above anyone. We can make arguments for a few select, but they each have flaws whether it’s getting old, shrinking up, or whatever. 

 
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Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Wilt. Who is the greatest?
Sunday , Jun , 05 , 2011 J.N.

Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Wilt. Who is the greatest?

No Boston Celtic made the final three to determine the best player according to the criteria. Cheer up Celtic fan, Magic Johnson did not make it either. Even though Kareem is bitter as hell, Wilt is resting, and Jordan is enjoying people rip on his outfits, they all have a good case to be the ultimate NBA player. Hold up. Magic and Bird did not make it despite dominating the 1980s? Yep, you got it. There was no joking around when the GOAT requirements were made.  

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Wednesday , Jun , 01 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kareem disagrees with Scottie Pippen’s view that LeBron ‘may be greatest ever’

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Scottie Pippen, what have you done?

The greatest wing-man in NBA history has started drama with his ‘LeBron may be the greatest player' ever comment.

This, of course, is great for the media. Today, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the greatest total scorer in NBA history, wrote an open letter taking issue with Pippen's comments.

While this isn’t a caps-locked tirade ala Dan Gilbert post The Decision, Kareem’s open-letter reminds Pippen to consider what he says before saying it and to pay greater (there's that word again) homage to the league's elders.

Mr. Skyhook also has a not-so subtle reminder for Pippen at the end of the letter. Gee, think Kareem feels his great career has been underappreciated?

Read Kareem's letter and tell us if you agree or disagree in the comment box below.

Dear Scottie,

I have nothing but respect for you my friend as an athlete and knowledgeable basketball mind. But you are way off in your assessment of who is the greatest player of all time and the greatest scorer of all time. Your comments are off because of your limited perspective. You obviously never saw Wilt Chamberlain play who undoubtedly was the greatest scorer this game has ever known. When did MJ ever average 50.4 points per game plus 25.7 rebounds? (Wilt in the 1962 season when blocked shot statistics were not kept). We will never accurately know how many shots Wilt blocked. Oh, by the way in 1967 and 68, Wilt was a league leader in assists. Did MJ ever score 100 points in a game? How many times did MJ score more than 60 points in a game? MJ led the league in scoring in consecutive seasons for 10 years but he did this in an NBA that eventually expanded into 30 teams vs. when Wilt played and there were only 8 teams.

Every team had the opportunity to amass a solid nucleus. Only the cream of the basketball world got to play then. So MJ has to be appraised in perspective. His incredible athletic ability, charisma and leadership on the court helped to make basketball popular around the world -- no question about that. But in terms of greatness, MJ has to take a backseat to The Stilt.

In terms of winning, Michael excelled as both an emotional and scoring leader but Bill Russell’s Celtics won eight consecutive NBA Championships. Bill's rebounding average per game is over 22.5 lifetime, MJs best rebounding years was eight per game (1989). But we will never know exactly how many shots Bill Russell blocked because again, they never kept that statistic while he played. However, if you ask anybody that played against Russell, they will just roll their eyes and say he blocked all the shots he wanted to block in the crucial moments of a game.

Bill played on a total of 11 championship teams and as you very well know, Scottie, the ring is the thing, and everything else is just statistics. So I would advise you to do a little homework before crowning Michael or LeBron with the title of best ever. As dominant as he is, LeBron has yet to win a championship. I must say that it looks like Miami has finally put the team together that will change that circumstance. Its my hope that today’s players get a better perspective on exactly what has been done in this league in the days of yore.

Affectionately,
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,
NBA’s All-Time Leading Scorer

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

 

 

 

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Saturday , May , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Tracy McGrady: ‘Bron is a star. MJ Best ever’

Tracy McGrady: 'Bron is a star!. Huge potential. MJ best ever.''

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Tracy McGrady knows about being a star with 'huge potential'.

Once upon a time, he was a terrific scorer for the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets; however, he failed to lead either team past the first round of the playoffs.

Now he’s past his prime. Injuries have taken its toll. And he’s a problem.

For instance, McGrady led a players’ revolt in Detroit last year. And the veteran laughed when Coach John Kuester was ejected. Thankfully, his career is winding down.

His call on James is accurate, though. Right now, he can’t touch Michael Jordan, the greatest player of all time. One day they may be in the same breath.

McGrady has had a mixed career, but this was one thing he got right.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Saturday , May , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Scottie Pippen: Bulls lost because of Boozer and Noah

"You can't have two of your top high-paid players sitting on the bench in the fourth quarter," Pippen said. "And that isn't just last night's game. We have seen this the whole season. So for us to think the Bulls are going to go farther when your high-priced players are not going to carry you and finish games for you ... you're not talking about a championship team.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: One day after comparing LeBron James to Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen went at Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah.

The Hall of Fame three-man blamed this duo for the Bulls loss to the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, saying that no team wins a championship with their second and third best players on the bench during the fourth quarter.

Pippen is right. However, Noah is still young and gets a partial mulligan on his uneven play.

The real issue is Boozer. Last summer, he signed a $75 million extension to be Derrick Rose’s running mate. The four-man was expected to be a second-in-command, a co-capo if you will.

Boozer has been a disappointment. Sure, he was injured for much of the season, but the real problem is that the Bulls offense revolves around Rose.

And for the Bulls to get past Miami in 2012, they need more from Boozer. Or they’ll have to find a new second star.

--Oly Sandor.
 
Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
 
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Saturday , May , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Scottie Pippen: LeBron is better than Michael Jordan

Scottie Pippen suggested, on ESPN Radio’s Mike And Mike In the Morning, that LeBron James, and not his former teammate, Michael Jordan, could end up being the greatest all-around player the league has ever seen.

“Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to ever play in the game, but I may go as far to say LeBron James is probably the greatest player to ever play the game,” Pippen said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Take a deep breath. Now exhale. Repeat.

While you’re meditating please remember Scottie Pippen didn’t totally go there. He didn’t say LeBron James was better than Michael Jordan.

Pippen sure came close, though.

He said James may be a greater all-around player because of athleticism and size. And he said James can a dominate game in more ways than Jordan.

Purists will be offended. After all, Jordan has six championship rings. James has none. Jordan transcended basketball. James gave basketball a bad name with The Decision.

Still, Pippen, in theory, may have a point. James’ rare combination of size, speed, skill, and power gives him a unique advantage over any player to ever grace an NBA floor.   

When it’s all said and done, James may eventually be in the same sentence as Jordan. Not now, though.

Here’s the reality: James lacks Jordan’s will and competitiveness. Remember, Jordan overcame the Detroit Pistons’ harsh tactics; upset Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals; handled Clyde the Glyde and Rip City; twice withstood the best John Stockton and Karl Malone, two Hall of Famers, could offer; and defeated Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, and the Seattle Sonics.

James has done nothing of the sort. Yet.

Let’s be fair: Jordan had help. It’s interesting his ‘help’ (Pippen) is so quick to deflect praise away from his former teammate and supposed friend towards others.

Maybe Pippen’s statement says more about the rivalry between him and Jordan, and less about James’ place in the game.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Saturday , May , 21 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

In defence of Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook

Westbrook, the Thunder's most misunderstood, puzzling or overanalyzed player, depending on your perspective, wouldn't flame the scrutiny on coach Scott Brooks' decision not to play him a single second of the fourth quarter in OKC's Game 2 win over Dallas on Thursday. The play of the Thunder's second-best player has been publicly picked apart throughout the postseason. Does he shoot too much, take bad shots and not pass enough?

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Russell Westbrook has a giant bulls-eye on his back.

The critics allege the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard shoots too much, knocks heads with Coach Scott Brooks, and wants to establish himself at the expense of his team.

The critics argue Westbrook should be the Thunder’s third option, with superstar Kevin Durant and super-sub James Harden as primary scorers.

Perhaps this is fair. Perhaps, the Thunder would be better with Westbrook using his athleticism to set-the-table for teammates and averaging a balanced 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.

The criticism is, to an extent, unfair. Especially since the Thunder won game two of the Western Conference Finals in Dallas. 

Sure, Brooks sat Westbrook for the entire fourth quarter. Sure, the Thunder won in spite of Westbrook, not because of him.

They still won, though. They still achieved a split on the road. And they have home-court advantage.

The world isn't ending. Westbrook isn’t the devil. He’s just a 22-year old point guard, who sometimes struggles with when to pass and shoot.

Others have had issues with decision making. Like Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons. Like Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. And like Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls.

By the way, these three figured 'it' out and won a combined 13 NBA championships.

Don’t get it twisted: Westbrook is not the next Zeke, Kobe, or MJ. It takes time for players, specifically point guards, to figure ‘it’ out.

Take Chauncey Billups. Before he became Mr. Big Shot with the Detroit Pistons, Billups was a nomad, playing on four teams between 1997 and 2002.

Critics said he lacked a position, couldn’t involve teammates and was a bust. Billups suddenly figured 'it out. Over the last ten years, he has won an NBA championship, been a Finals MVP, and made regular appearances in the Conference Finals.

Bottom line: Billups has had an excellent career. And he isn’t done. Like Westbrook, he needed time. Westbrook, at this age, is mch further along than Billups.

Critics need to appreciate Westbrook for what he is and can do. Soon enough, he’ll figure ‘it’ out. Then opponents will have to watch out.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

Derrick Rose. The 2010-2011 MVP. Haters welcomed!
Tuesday , May , 03 , 2011 J.N.

Derrick Rose. The 2010-2011 MVP. Haters welcomed!

Derrick Rose is officially the youngest NBA MVP for anyone living in a cave kicking it with John Rambo. He earned it at 22 years old. Leading the team to the number one record is a tall order for anyone. The 2010-2011 season is historic mainly because of this. Basketball fans witnessed something amazing that we will not see again from any 22 year old NBA player. It was fun to see all of the games on DirecTV. Chicago’s offense and the opposing team’s defensive game plans truly revolved around the Poohdini of the Hardwood.

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Wednesday , Apr , 20 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Michael Jordan: ‘I want to spend’

 

“I want to spend money for a team that’s going to get us in the top four (in the Eastern Conference), the top three.“We haven’t put ourselves in position to do that yet because of some of the stipulations of our contracts,” adds Jordan. “And now this is the first time we feel like we’re going to have a pretty good summer because we have some flexibility. We want to invest. To get where we have to go, we know we have to.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: He has cache. He has money. Is this enough?

Michael Jordan, perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time, is willing to open his wallet and spend to turn his Charlotte Bobcats into a contender.

However, Jordan’s name and resources aren’t enough. For several reasons, it won’t turn the Bobcats, a mediocre team in the Eastern Conference, into a destination.

In today’s NBA, great teams have more than one superstar. And these superstars typically prefer big markets. Like New York. Like Los Angeles. Like Miami.

These cities let them maximize endorsement opportunities, grow their brand, and live like a TMZ style celebrity. All/some of the above can be done in Charlotte, but not to the same extent.

Of course, Jordan, a stubborn man, can’t accept that his star power and money won’t go as far as he’d like in today’s NBA.

Times have changed. Being Mike isn’t enough. Not in Charlotte, at least.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.