Jordan: New CBA helps, opposed Paul deal to Lakers

By Steve Reed

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 14 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan speaks to the media during an NBA basketball news conference in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011. The Bobcats traded away their best two players last year, raising questions about where they're headed in year four of the Michael Jordan era.

Chuck Burton, Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Michael Jordan didn't exactly shed any tears when the proposed trade of Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers was nixed.

The Bobcats owner likes the idea of competitive balance in the NBA.

And while Jordan never expressed his opinion to NBA Commissioner David Stern on the trade, he said Wednesday that such moves simply don't help smaller market teams.

"As a small market (owner) I'm very supportive of being able to keep your star player," Jordan said. "That whole market is determined by that one individual. You want to make it very difficult for that guy to leave. Not that he can't leave, but to understand the circumstances if he does leave.

"I can't imagine if I'm in the Hornets scenario that I would want Chris Paul to leave. You want to keep your star."

That said, Jordan would like to land a headline player — someone like Paul.

"I would definitely go after a guy like that," Jordan said of the Hornets star guard. "Obviously we have the cap space next year to do so. I would do everything I can get to try to get a player like that."

Jordan said he wants every team in the league to have a chance to win the NBA championship including the Bobcats, who haven't won a playoff game since coming into the league in 2004.

He believes the new collective bargaining agreement is far from perfect saying "it's not ultimately where we want to be," but believes it's a big step toward creating parity in the league — something he fought hard to attain during negotiations.

Jordan, who as a player once told then-Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin during the 1998 labor negotiations that if he couldn't make a profit he should sell the team, aggravated some current players when he took a hardline stance on revenue sharing during the lockout.

Jordan's stance prompted many players to react negatively with Washington guard Nick Young saying on Twitter he wouldn't wear Air Jordans anymore and Golden State wing Klay Thompson going as far as to call him a hypocrite.

On Wednesday, Jordan smiled and laughed before responding to questions about how some perceive him as a "hardline owner."

He said things aren't the same as they were in 1998.

"We have gone through some difficult (financial) situations and we have 22 teams losing money — so obviously the model is not correct," Jordan said. "I understood what some of the players said in terms of what they thought I should be doing. But my dedication was to the community and to this team.

"I would have been more hypocritical if I'm sitting here supporting the players. Ultimately when these kids grow up and hopefully can get to my side of the table they will understand what my stance was."

Jordan said he believes the new CBA will help level the playing field for small market teams over time because of increased luxury tax implications for big-market teams that continuously go over the salary cap to sign free agents.

He also likes the revenue sharing aspect of the new CBA, saying it too will help the smaller markets succeed.

It all comes at a good time for the Bobcats.

Now in Jordan's fourth year as owner, the Bobcats are essentially starting over.

Marred in what he felt like an endless cycle of mediocrity — battling for the final spot in the playoffs every season — the Bobcats decided to trade away their two best players last year in Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson and began to build with an eye toward the future.

They're banking on lottery picks Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo being cornerstones of the franchise.

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