So Michael Jordan got his man, luring vagabond coach Larry Brown away from the potential openings in Dallas, Phoenix, Toronto and Atlanta to come lead the Charlotte Bobcats.
What’s interesting is that both men need this pairing to work to rebuild their slumping reputations. Brown is coming a disastrous campaign with the New York Knicks, a situation he worsened by insisting on trading for Steve Francis and clashing with Isiah Thomas, who, to be fair to Brown, wasn’t, well, fair to Brown in dealing with complaining players.
Still, Brown’s rep for turning moribund franchises into playoff contenders is on the line with Bobcats, a team with a lot of young talent and parts that don’t really mix all that well together.
But Jordan has even more at stake. If this move fails, it will fail spectacularly. A lot of eyes will be watching to see how this plays out, moving Charlotte into the NBA spotlight for the first time since the Hornets were in the process of leaving town.
Jordan’s legacy as a player is undeniable and unassailable. His reputation as a basketball executive, though, is bordering on the laughable. He has wrecked two top-five draft picks in his short career with Kwame Brown and Adam Morrison, and with Brown has named his fourth coach in less than 10 years holing up in a front office. When he was with the Washington Wizards, Jordan hired Leonard Hamilton without any NBA head coaching experience and fired him after one year. And just last year, he hired Sam Vincent without any head coaching experience and then burned him after one year.
Now Jordan turns to a friend in Brown. And at Brown’s introduction on Wednesday everybody was all smiles and eager to talk about their North Carolina connections.
But these are two irascible personalities that have a long, long road ahead of them, even in the weak Eastern Conference. On paper, this seems like the perfect move. After all, Brown got the Los Angeles Clippers into the playoffs.
But it seems as though everything Brown and Jordan The Executive touch end badly after a brief honeymoon period.
That they both have so much to gain and so much more to lose may be the best thing to happen to both of them.
They have to make this work, not just hope it does.