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Silas Loses Job as Hornet Coach

May 05, 2003|From Associated Press

Paul Silas was fired as coach of the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday after five seasons in which he set the franchise record for victories.

The Hornets were 47-35 this season, finishing third in the Central Division. They were eliminated from the playoffs Friday night, losing to the Philadelphia 76ers in six games in the first round.

Silas said he received a phone call Sunday from team co-owner Ray Wooldridge, who said the Hornets would not renew his contract.

"The decision was made for me. It was a little surprising, but they have the right to make their own decisions," Silas said. "We had a good ride, and I appreciate the opportunity they gave me."

He leaves with an overall mark of 208-155 with the Hornets, who moved from Charlotte to New Orleans after last season.

Silas took the Hornets to the playoffs each of the last four seasons, but they never advanced beyond the second round.

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Michael Jordan is interested in a possible role with the Charlotte expansion team and has talked recently with owner Robert Johnson about buying in as a partner, the Associated Press has learned.

Johnson and Jordan have been friends for a while and have spoken frequently in recent years. But their talks over the last three weeks have taken a different tone, including preliminary discussions about doing business together on the team Johnson bought last December for $300 million.

"A deal isn't close. It's just the beginning of the discussion," said the source, who indicated that possible stumbling blocks could be the amount of control Jordan would want and the purchase price. "It isn't going to be a freebie," the source added.

The team will begin play in the 2004-05 season.

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