NBA

Michael Jordan’s Next Biggest Investment Has Already Gotten Off to a Terrible Start

Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan is universally recognized as the greatest basketball player in NBA history. The Hall of Famer won six titles with the Chicago Bulls in the ’90s and went 6-0 in the Finals. Jordan also won all six Finals MVP awards for the Bulls and took home five regular-season MVP trophies as well.

However, Jordan hasn’t had much success as the Hornets’ owner. The franchise has only made the playoffs twice since Jordan bought the team in 2010. During the 2011-12 lockout season, the Hornets won just seven games and were the laughingstock of the NBA. Jordan was a winner with the Bulls during his playing career, so it had to be tough for MJ to watch a team he owned play so poorly.

The future in Charlotte, though, could be bright with LaMelo Ball, Devonte’ Graham, Malik Monk, Miles Bridges, and P.J. Washington leading the way. However, Michael Jordan’s big-money acquisition in free agency this past offseason is already proving to be a bad investment.

Michael Jordan gave Gordon Hayward $120 million

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After playing three seasons with the Boston Celtics, small forward Gordon Hayward met with Michael Jordan and the Hornets in free agency and wound up signing a lucrative deal. Charlotte signed Hayward to a four-year, $120 million contract. The Hornets and Celtics ended up completing a sign-and-trade deal involving Hayward, with Boston receiving draft picks.

Hayward appeared in 52 games for the Celtics last season. He averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per contest while shooting 50.0% from the field, 38.3% from beyond the arc, and 85.5% from the free-throw line. While those are good numbers, Hayward and his agent did a great job of getting more money in free agency than they probably should have from Jordan and the Hornets.

Michael Jordan’s thought process was that getting Gordon Hayward next to his young core would help the Hornets compete for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference this upcoming season. While that could happen, history has shown us that MJ and the Hornets may not be able to rely on Hayward.

Gordon Hayward is already hurt for Michael Jordan and the Hornets

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The 2020-21 regular season hasn’t even started yet and Gordon Hayward is already hurt for Michael Jordan and the Hornets. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Hayward has been prone to injuries ever since he left the Utah Jazz in the summer of 2017.

On opening night back in 2017-18, Hayward suffered a gruesome leg injury against the Cleveland Cavaliers just five minutes into the game. He was lost for the rest of the campaign and underwent multiple surgeries to get back on the court.

Hayward played in 72 games for the Celtics in 2018-19 but wasn’t comfortable on the court. The one-time All-Star only averaged 11.5 points per game, the second-lowest output of his career. The Celtics were a dysfunctional team that season and fell to the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2019 Eastern Conference Semifinals in five games despite winning Game 1 of the series.

Last season, Hayward was productive in his role. However, the injury bug wouldn’t leave the swingman alone, as Hayward broke his left hand and missed 13 games. He also suffered an ankle injury in the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World. The Celtics, who lost to the Miami Heat in the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals in six games, only had Hayward for five games in the playoffs.

MJ and the Hornets are in trouble after opening their checkbooks for an oft-injured player

Gordon Hayward is being listed as day-to-day moving forward after his latest injury. Michael Jordan and the Hornets open the 2020-21 season on Dec. 23 against the Cavs. It’s unknown if Hayward is going to be able to play in that contest.

Jordan will be paying Hayward $28.5 million this upcoming season. That’s a lot of money for a guy who probably won’t play in all 72 games during the regular season due to his severe injury history. Once again, it looks like Jordan made another mistake as the Hornets’ owner.

Michael Jordan may be the best basketball player ever, but his ownership track record is very shaky.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference. Contracts courtesy of Spotrac.