Michael Jordan

Haynes’ Latest: Beal, Pacers, Lue, McMillan, Henderson, Hornets

The Wizards have given Bradley Beal and his representatives – including agent Mark Bartelstein – permission to talk to rival teams about a potential trade, sources tell Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report.

While Beal has not requested a trade, per Haynes, the Wizards are reportedly mulling the idea of a roster reset that would involve moving the star guard. Since Beal has a no-trade clause, he’ll be very much a part of any trade negotiations, so it’s no surprise that his camp has been granted permission to talk directly to potential suitors.

[RELATED: Wizards, Bradley Beal Discussing Trade Scenarios]

The Heat and Bucks are among the teams expected to speak with Bartelstein, sources tell Haynes. The Heat and Beal have been linked in the past and appear to have mutual interest, but the 29-year-old isn’t attempting to force his way to Miami or to any other specific team, a source tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

As for Milwaukee, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports confirms there have been rumblings about the Bucks having interest in Beal, as others have reported. But a Bucks trade for Beal would probably have to include Khris Middleton, according to Fischer, who says all indications are that Milwaukee intends to bring back Middleton and free agent center Brook Lopez.

Here’s more from Haynes’ latest rumor round-up:

  • The Pacers have made the No. 7 pick available and are in the market for a starting-caliber wing, per Haynes, echoing a report from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (Twitter video link via Evan Sidery of Forbes). According to Fischer, Indiana previously explored trade scenarios for Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter (for Chris Duarte and draft capital) and Raptors forward OG Anunoby. The Pacers are also expected to be among the suitors for Celtics restricted free agent forward Grant Williams, Fischer adds.
  • The Clippers are considered unlikely to reach an agreement on a contract extension with head coach Tyronn Lue this offseason, Haynes reports. Lue has one more guaranteed year on his contract, with a team option for 2024/25. Haynes adds that the Suns never officially made contact with the Clippers about their interest in Lue this spring, since L.A. would have wanted draft assets to release Lue from his contract, and Phoenix used most of its draft picks at the trade deadline to acquire Kevin Durant.
  • Nate McMillan turned down an offer to join the Mavericks‘ coaching staff and intends to take a year off from coaching to spend time with his family, sources tell Haynes.
  • Scoot Henderson will return to North Carolina on Monday to meet with Hornets owner Michael Jordan, writes Haynes. Fischer previously reported that Charlotte wanted to bring both Henderson and Brandon Miller back early next week to meet with Jordan. It’s unclear whether or not Miller will also return to Charlotte.

Michael Jordan Agrees To Sell Majority Share Of Hornets

9:45am: The Hornets have put out a press release confirming that Jordan has reached an agreement to sell the majority share of the franchise to a group led by Plotkin and Schnall. According to Wojnarowski (Twitter link), the team is being valued at approximately $3 billion in the sale.

In addition to the names listed below, the new ownership group will include tech investor Ian Loring and several North Carolina natives, including recording artists J. Cole and Eric Church, per the Hornets.

The team added that Schnall is in the process of selling his minority stake in the Hawks, which will likely be completed within the next few weeks.

9:04am: Hornets owner Michael Jordan is selling his majority share of the franchise, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports that Jordan is in the process of finalizing a deal with a group led by Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall.

Plotkin is a current minority stakeholder in the Hornets, while Schnall held a minority share of the Hawks. They’ll become the new team governors in Charlotte once the sale is completed and approved by the NBA, says Wojnarowski, adding that an agreement is expected to be reached soon.

Jordan assumed majority control of the Hornets back in 2010, completing a deal that was based on a reported valuation of $275MM. While it’s not clear yet what he’ll sell for, Forbes estimated last October that the franchise was worth $1.7 billion, and those projections often undershoot actual sale prices.

Charlotte’s NBA franchise, which reentered the NBA as the expansion Bobcats in 2004 before being rebranded as the Hornets in 2014, made the playoffs just three times during Jordan’s tenure as majority owner and didn’t win a postseason series.

According to Wojnarowski, Jordan will remain involved with the Hornets, at least in the short term. He’ll continue to oversee basketball operations during the draft and the start in free agency in the coming weeks. Even after completing the sale, the six-time NBA champion is expected to retain a minority stake in the team, sources tell ESPN.

Word broke three months ago that Jordan was mulling the possibility of giving up control of the Hornets to a group led by Plotkin and Schnall. A story last month indicated that he may have been waiting until after the draft lottery to make a decision, since landing the No. 1 overall pick and the right to draft Victor Wembanyama would’ve increased the value of the franchise.

Charlotte didn’t win the draft lottery, but did come away with the next-best thing — the team controls the No. 2 pick, which could be used to draft a potential star like Scoot Henderson or Brandon Miller or as the centerpiece in a trade for an established veteran star. For now, there doesn’t appear to be traction on a trade involving the No. 2 pick, though that could change by the time the Hornets are on the clock next Thursday.

Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported yesterday that Charlotte is trying to bring Henderson and Miller back to town this coming Monday to meet with Jordan, adding that all signs point toward the club choosing between those two players if it keeps its lottery pick. The Hornets have kept the reps for Henderson and Miller apprised on the ownership situation, tweets Fischer.

Besides Plotkin and Schnall, the Hornets’ new ownership team will include Hornets minority owner Daniel Sundheim, who is part of the purchasing group, says Wojnarowski.

A source tells Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic (Twitter link) that private equity form Dyal HomeCourt Partners is also expected to be involved in the group. Dyal also has stakes in the Hawks and Kings and had one in the Suns before cashing out in February when Mat Ishbia bought the franchise, says Vorkunov.

It remains to be seen how the Hornets’ ownership change might affect the team on and off the court going forward — head coach Steve Clifford and president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak are among those in leadership roles whose futures could be impacted. For what it’s worth, Fischer notes (via Twitter) that Schnall was believed to be involved in basketball operations during his time as a Hawks minority owner.

Hornets Notes: No. 2 Pick, Miller, Henderson, Bridges, Jordan

It was difficult to find even one NBA executive at the draft combine in Chicago who believes that G League Ignite Scoot Henderson will be the pick at No. 2 in the draft over Alabama forward Brandon Miller, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link). Still, as he stated last week on Zach Lowe’s podcast, Givony isn’t quite ready to lock in Miller as the Hornets‘ choice at No. 2.

According to Givony, Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak weighs individual team workouts more heavily than many executives, and there’s a possibility Henderson will have a more impressive workout than Miller, who has been recovering from mononucleosis and has lost 13 pounds since the end of the NCAA season, per agent Wilmer Jackson. After meeting with a dozen teams at the combine, including the Hornets, Miller intends to fly to Charlotte in mid-June for a workout and a second interview, says Givony.

The Hornets are also doing due diligence into Miller’s connection to a fatal January shooting, sending their own attorneys to Tuscaloosa this week to look into the matter, Givony writes. Team executives at the combine said that Miller had a legal brief written by his lawyers advising clubs that the 20-year-old wouldn’t be able to comment on specific details related to that case due to ongoing legal proceedings.

According to Givony, some teams have concerns about how possible lawsuits or follow-up investigations into the incident could impact Miller, but Jackson insists his client is “free and clear” of any wrongdoing.

“The case is still open, and Brandon has had limited communication for that reason,” Jackson said. “He’s been cleared from day one. We were told by the attorneys not to speak about the situation. At the right time we can have that conversation, but for now, we’re leaving it alone and will let the process complete itself.”

Here’s more on the Hornets:

  • G League Ignite Anthony McClish has nothing but praise for Henderson, who in turn seems genuinely excited about the Hornets’ core and the possibility of playing in Charlotte, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. “He’s going to be loved by coaches, he’s going to be loved by teammates, he’s going to be loved by fans and youth in the community,” McClish said of Henderson, who spent two seasons with the Ignite. “He’s uplifted our building. He’s been our beacon of what we want to have as an example, in terms of our values and carrying a program.”
  • After sitting out last season due to his domestic violence case, former Hornets forward Miles Bridges will once again be a restricted free agent this offseason, assuming Charlotte reissues a qualifying offer. The Hornets’ front office would like to have Bridges back on the roster next season, sources tell Givony.
  • Since a March report indicated that Michael Jordan was mulling the possibility of selling his majority stake in the Hornets, there have been few updates. According to Givony, one reason for the delay is that Jordan was waiting to see if Charlotte would land the No. 1 overall pick before making any decisions. It’s unclear if – or how – snagging the No. 2 pick might affect Jordan’s plans, or when a potential sale might occur, Givony says.

And-Ones: Silver, Jordan, MVP Race, Cousins

In addition to addressing the state of the CBA negotiations between the NBA and NBPA during his press conference on Wednesday, commissioner Adam Silver spoke about several other topics, including  rumors that he could replace Bob Iger as Disney’s CEO (“I have no intention of going anywhere,” Silver said) and his meeting earlier this month with Grizzlies guard Ja Morant.

As Tim Bontemps of ESPN relays, Silver also discussed the reports stating that Michael Jordan is in talks to sell a stake in the Hornets, explaining that Jordan expects to still be very much involved in the NBA even if he’s no longer the majority owner in Charlotte.

“One thing Michael has told me is that whether or not that transaction gets done, he will remain governor in the league, technically maybe the alternate governor instead of the governor, so he’ll still stay very involved,” Silver said. “He’d still continue to have an interest in the league.

“I recognize that over time, people’s interests move on to other areas. He’s not living in the market right now, etc. So, completely understandable. But the good news is, I think regardless of his ownership status, he will remain part and parcel of everything that this league continues to do. I have no doubt about that.”

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The 2023 MVP race is tighter than ever in the season’s home stretch, according to the third and final straw poll conducted by Tim Bontemps of ESPN. The 100 media members who submitted five-man ballots to Bontemps picked Sixers center Joel Embiid over Nuggets center Nikola Jokic by a grand total of two points (790 to 788). Jokic actually received more first-place votes (42) than Embiid (40), while Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was also very much in the mix, with the remaining 18 first-place votes and 612 total points.
  • Asked during an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter audio link) if he has received feedback from NBA teams about why he’s not in the league, free agent center DeMarcus Cousins said he hasn’t gotten a real explanation. “I’ve asked many questions. I’ve reached out to former teams,” Cousins said. “I kind of get sugar-coated answers. I can never really get the raw, honest truth. I’ve struggled with that as well. I would love to get a real answer.”
  • In an Insider-only article for ESPN.com, Kevin Pelton considers the effect a minimum games-played requirement would have on All-NBA voting, noting that players who have earned All-NBA honors while playing fewer than 58 games have often been among the league’s biggest superstars.

Southeast Notes: Bey, Magic, Hornets, Richards

Saddiq Bey knew he was the subject of trade rumors going into last month’s deadline, but he was surprised when the Pistons actually dealt him, writes Mike Curtis of The Detroit News. Bey was sent to the Hawks in a four-team deal that didn’t become official until four days after it was agreed upon. He decided to look on the bright side of being traded and focus on contributing to his new team.

“It’s tough as a competitor, but you have to remember that once you get traded, somebody wanted you as well,” said Bey, who spent his first two-and-a-half NBA seasons in Detroit. “You could look at it in a negative way, like, ‘Damn, this team didn’t want me? But this team does want me.’ I think for me, looking at my faith, I just really trusted God. I think this is the place He wants me to be at, so I gotta make the most of it.”

The trade put Bey in the middle of a playoff race, and he’s been able to help Atlanta in its postseason push. He’s averaging 10.4 points and 4.3 rebounds in 15 games since joining the Hawks while shooting 45.6% from three-point range.

“Saddiq respects the game, works on his body, works on his craft,” teammate John Collins said. “Has a total understanding on what it means to be a pro, so I just try to tell him to stay solid mentally and know that his time is coming.” 

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Magic are a long shot to climb into the play-in tournament, but they’re enjoying the chance to play spoiler against teams that are above them in the standings, per Nathaniel Marrerro of The Orlando Sentinel. “When you’ve got teams that are trying to fight for playoff spots or fight to get into the playoffs, the intensity in the game is just a lot different,” Markelle Fultz said after Tuesday’s win over the 11th-seeded Wizards. “Any opportunity we get a chance to do that is huge for us and we’ve got to really lock in and take advantage of it.”
  • Steve Apostolopoulos, a Canadian billionaire who had discussions with Michael Jordan about buying the Hornets, has decided to focus on a chance to purchase the NFL’s Washington Commanders, according to Brian Windhorst and Adam Schefter of ESPN. Jordan’s company issued a statement this week revealing that he has talked to minority owner Gabe Plotkin about buying a larger share of the team, writes Steve Reed of The Associated Press, but the release doesn’t specify whether Jordan plans to remain the majority owner.
  • Nick Richards‘ new three-year extension with the Hornets includes a team option for the final season, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Michael Jordan In Discussions To Sell Majority Stake In Hornets

Longtime Hornets majority owner Michael Jordan may soon be giving up control of the franchise. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Jordan is currently “in serious talks” to offload a majority stake in the Hornets to another ownership group fronted by Hawks minority owner Rick Schnall and current Charlotte minority owners Gabe Plotkin and Daniel Sundheim.

While a deal is not imminent, there’s momentum toward an agreement that would eventually make Schnall and Plotkin co-governors of the Hornets, Wojnarowski adds.

Woj hears that Jordan intends to hold on to at least a minority piece of the club if a sale agreement is reached.

Jordan purchased his initial majority stake in the Hornets for $275MM in 2010, but has been at least a partial owner since 2009. The Hornets’ value as a franchise has only increased since Jordan bought that initial stake. Sportico’s most recent valuation of the team estimated its worth at $1.77 billion (Twitter link).

With a new television deal on the horizon, it seems like a wise investing decision to maintain at least some portion of Charlotte for the immediate future.

The rebuilding Hornets currently occupy the East’s No. 14 seed with a 22-49 record. The team is in prime position to add a major talent in what is expected to be an exciting 2023 draft. During the 2021/22 season, Charlotte did qualify for the East’s play-in tournament, but lost a 132-103 blowout to the Hawks.

Hornets Coaching Candidate D’Antoni To Meet With Jordan

The Hornets are set to bring in another one of their head coaching finalists, Mike D’Antoni, for a meeting that will include team owner Michael Jordan, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

A previous report, identifying Kenny Atkinson as the frontrunner for Charlotte’s coaching vacancy, indicated that Atkinson would be the first of the team’s candidates to meet with Jordan. According to Wojnarowski, that sit-down is expected to occur on Tuesday, with D’Antoni’s meeting coming later in the week.

Both Atkinson and D’Antoni have already met twice with Hornets management, but Jordan wasn’t involved in those first two rounds, Wojnarowski explains. After conducting their final round of interviews in the coming days with Jordan in attendance, the Hornets are expected to finalize a decision on who will replace James Borrego on the sidelines in Charlotte.

A pair of reports in mid-May stated that D’Antoni was believed to be the favorite for the Hornets’ job, though Marc Stein – who published one of those reports – later said he received some “push-back” on that idea. Subsequently, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report suggested D’Antoni may be Jordan’s preferred choice, while Stein stated that the team was likely to decide between Atkinson and D’Antoni.

As of Friday, Terry Stotts was also believed to be in the running for the Hornets’ position, but it remains unclear whether he’ll get an opportunity to meet with Jordan.

D’Antoni, Atkinson, and Stotts all have previous head coaching experience, and all three have helped turn lottery teams into playoff clubs. D’Antoni did it in Phoenix and New York, while Atkinson did it in Brooklyn and Stotts did it in Portland.

Kenny Atkinson Frontrunner For Hornets’ Coaching Job

Kenny Atkinson is the frontrunner to land the Hornets‘ head coaching job, according to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic, who report that the Warriors assistant will soon have another meeting with Hornets team officials. It’ll be Atkinson’s third meeting with Charlotte and the first one with team owner Michael Jordan in attendance, per The Athletic’s duo.

Mike D’Antoni and Terry Stotts are among the other candidates still in play for the Hornets’ head coaching vacancy, though neither of them has been invited to meet with Jordan so far, sources tell The Athletic. It’s possible that could change in the coming days.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report stated earlier this week that Atkinson and D’Antoni are among Charlotte’s finalists to replace James Borrego, noting at the time that Atkinson’s candidacy had gained momentum in recent weeks but D’Antoni was still believed to be favored by Jordan. Marc Stein reported today that he continues to hear the Hornets are likely to choose between Atkinson and D’Antoni.

The Hornets believe they’re on the verge of being a playoff team and want a head coach who will help the club take the next step, as well as providing “development and defensive structure” for key players like LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges, per Charania and Amick.

Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak has led the team’s head coaching search after recently signing a two-year contract extension. That deal features a trigger allowing him to transition to a consulting role if and when he wants to do so, sources tell The Athletic.

The Warriors have already lost one key member of Steve Kerr‘s staff this spring, as Mike Brown agreed to become the new head coach in Sacramento. If Atkinson departs for Charlotte, Golden State will be down a pair of top assistants.

Latest On Hornets’ Head Coaching Search

Darvin Ham was scheduled for a second interview for the Hornets‘ head coaching job prior to becoming the new head coach of the Lakers. With Ham off the table, former Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni and Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson are considered finalists for the position, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

President of basketball operations and general manager Mitch Kupchak has been busy preparing for the upcoming draft (the Hornets own the Nos. 13, 15, and 45 picks), which is partly why Charlotte’s search has progressed slower than the vacancies in Sacramento and Los Angeles. Kupchak’s new extension is a two-year deal, sources tell Fischer.

Another reason for the relative lack of progress is that none of the coaching candidates have met with owner Michael Jordan yet, as he was on vacation, but the final stage of interviews could occur this week once he returns, Fischer reports.

At the combine a couple of weeks ago, league personnel indicated Atkinson appeared to be gaining momentum for the position. The former Nets head coach “projected great confidence” that he’d ultimately land the job in calls with team staffers and other NBA figures with knowledge of the organization, according to Fischer. Atkinson is known as a detail-oriented person, and sources close to the coach indicate the research he’s done on the Hornets is reflective of that, Fischer says.

However, D’Antoni’s name has been linked to the Hornets most often, and a source with knowledge of the team’s thinking told Fischer that D’Antoni appears to be favored by Jordan, which contradicts the “push-back” that Marc Stein received after reporting that D’Antoni appeared to be a strong candidate. Stein also recently said that if D’Antoni is hired, the offensive-minded coach could bring former Bulls head coach Jim Boylen, who’s known as a defense-first coach, along with him as an assistant.

As Fischer observes, Atkinson’s strong background in player development seemingly fits well with a young team trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015/16 (the Hornets were eliminated in the first game of the play-in tournament as the No. 10 seed each of the past two seasons). Having said that, Atkinson’s player development background is similar to James Borrego, who was fired after the season ended, leading to league speculation that Charlotte might opt to hire D’Antoni instead.

Hornets Rumors: Jordan, Kupchak, Head Coach Candidates

The decision to fire former Hornets head coach James Borrego apparently came from owner Michael Jordan, not president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. This contradicts a report last month that Kupchak was the driving force behind the move.

Sources tell Fischer that Jordan was unhappy with Charlotte’s poor defense, which fell from 16th in 2020/21 to 22nd this season. The Hornets also gave up 144 points to Indiana in last season’s play-in tournament and then 132 to Atlanta this season, both blowout losses.

The Hornets are in the early stages of their search to fill the coaching vacancy, Fischer writes. Kupchak has been mulling over candidates and is acting as though he’ll remain in charge of the team’s basketball operations even though his contract expires after the season, sources tell Fischer.

The team has discussed finding someone to eventually succeed Kupchak for years, but the Hornets want him to remain in place for at least the short term, assuming the two sides can work out their difference of opinion regarding salary, which sounds like a formality.

Prior to Adrian Wojnarowski’s report that the Hornets will interview Mike D’Antoni, Kenny Atkinson, Darvin Ham and Sean Sweeney for their head coaching job, Fischer explored some possible candidates, including D’Antoni and Atkinson.

Like the Kings, the Hornets are also searching for someone with previous head coaching experience. League sources tell Fischer that former Rockets head coach D’Antoni, Warriors assistants Mike Brown and Atkinson, and Vanderbilt head coach Jerry Stackhouse are potential candidates for the opening. Brown holds previous head coaching experience with the Cavaliers and Lakers and is a finalist for Sacramento’s job, while Atkinson was Brooklyn’s lead coach from 2016-20.

Fischer notes that D’Antoni has frequently been linked to the Sixers since Daryl Morey became president of basketball operations, but the team has consistently maintained that head coach Doc Rivers and the front office are aligned on their shared vision of the future. Rivers still is still owed an additional $24MM over three years following this season, so even if Morey did want to fire him, that would be a bitter pill for Philadelphia’s ownership to swallow, Fischer observes.

Echoing a report from Marc Stein, Fischer says one more name to keep an eye on for the Hornets is Jazz coach Quin Snyder, who still has one year remaining on his contract with Utah. Synder previously worked under Kupchak’s front office as a Lakers assistant and has ties to North Carolina — he played for Duke in college and was an assistant coach there prior to becoming Missouri’s head coach.

Snyder has repeatedly been linked to the Lakers‘ opening, but several sources tell Fischer that L.A. doesn’t appeal to Utah’s head coach.