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Jordan taking active role as Bobcats owner

March 18, 2007|From the Associated Press

Michael Jordan is convinced he'll make the Charlotte Bobcats a winner after struggling in his first role running a team with the Washington Wizards.

Jordan, part owner of the Bobcats with the final say on basketball decisions, thinks he's in a better situation now.

"The unfortunate thing in Washington, I didn't get a chance to finish what I started. But I'm very happy with what I did," Jordan said recently in a rare meeting with reporters. "I think this provides a whole different opportunity from scratch. Young players that we can build a longevity, a nucleus of success -- if you do it right. I think we are doing it right."

Jordan, who was widely criticized for taking underachieving Kwame Brown with the No. 1 pick in the 2001 draft while with Washington, was fired by the Wizards in 2003. But Jordan believes he doesn't get enough credit for dumping contracts and getting the Wizards under the salary cap.

"I think I'm better off from a financial standpoint in this organization from what I had to do in Washington," Jordan said. "Being able to unload some of the contracts and create some of that space gives me the knowledge of how to utilize it here and to use it wisely for the right reasons."

The third-year Bobcats, well under the salary cap, will have the most flexibility of any team this summer during free agency. And Jordan plans to spend money, despite acknowledging that the Bobcats currently are losing money.

"The one thing we do have is the flexibility to lure that star athlete if the finances is what he's looking for," Jordan said.

Jordan also will make the decision on a coach to replace Bernie Bickerstaff, who probably will move into a front-office role at the end of the season. But don't expect Jordan to become more visible in Charlotte.

When he attends games, he's tucked away in a suite and even has instructed arena staff not to show him on the video board.

"It's mainly because I'm probably yelling and throwing things. I'm not hiding from the fans," Jordan said. "I show emotion a lot more than most people. The last thing I want is for people seeing me down there criticizing and yelling at Adam Morrison for not getting back on defense or for some guy throwing the ball away."

*

Most athletes know that New York can be great if you play well, but miserable if you fail.

Isiah Thomas was worried about the latter before he decided to take the Knicks' offer to become their vice president of basketball operations in December 2003.

After receiving a multiyear contract extension last week, Thomas was asked if he had been worried since last summer about losing his job. His boss, Madison Square Garden Chairman James Dolan, told Thomas the team had to show improvement this season or Thomas would be gone.

"Way before that," Thomas said. "Taking the job you worry about that, because when I took the job that was one of the big questions that I had to ask myself, was if you can't get it done in New York, then it's not going to be a pretty picture. The position that the Knicks were in at that time was deemed hopeless."

Thomas had led the Indiana Pacers to three straight playoff berths before he was fired. He wasn't out of work long before New York offered him the chance to come clean up its salary-cap woes.

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