Charlotte Hornets majority governor Michael Jordan is doing anything possible to make the team a winner. The Chicago Bulls legend hasn’t had much success since buying the franchise in 2010, but things could change soon with LaMelo Ball leading the way.
The 2021 free agency period has undoubtedly been wild thus far. While Jordan and the Hornets didn’t get any of the big-time players on the market, His Airness did manage to steal an essential weapon from Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.
Michael Jordan signed Kelly Oubre Jr., who played with Stephen Curry and Warriors last season
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, small forward Kelly Oubre Jr. has agreed to a two-year, $26 million-plus deal with Jordan’s Hornets. The swingman played with Curry on the Warriors last season. He appeared in 55 games and averaged 15.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.3 assists while shooting 43.9% from the field, 31.6% from beyond the arc, and 69.5% from the free-throw line.
The Hornets missed the playoffs in 2020-21 despite Ball winning Rookie of the Year. Jordan is certainly eager to see his team reach the postseason for the first time since 2016, and adding Oubre Jr. is a solid move since the lefty is a versatile forward who can shoot the 3-ball and defend at a high level on the perimeter.
As for Curry and the Warriors, losing Oubre Jr. must be a tough pill to swallow, especially since Golden State gave up a conditional 2021 first-round pick and a 2021 second-round pick to get him from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Front offices want to avoid losing a player in free agency and not getting anything in return when they gave up assets to acquire him.
It’s not guaranteed that the Hornets will make the playoffs next season after signing Oubre Jr. However, Jordan and Charlotte general manager Mitch Kupchak are doing everything they can to surround Ball with as much talent as possible for the youngster to thrive.
LaMelo Ball had stellar rookie season for Michael Jordan
Ball won the 2020-21 Rookie of the Year Award despite missing significant time due to a wrist injury. The point guard averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 6.1 assists in 28.8 minutes per contest.
The more shooters Jordan can put around Ball, the better. The 19-year-old is a terrific passer and doesn’t have tunnel vision when he gets into the paint. Oubre Jr., a career 32.6% shooter from beyond the arc, should stretch the floor well for the Hornets and have plenty of open looks due to all the attention Ball will command when he puts his head down and drives to the rim.
It has to have been difficult for Jordan to watch the Hornets miss the playoffs so many times since he became the majority governor. During his legendary run with the Bulls, MJ never missed the postseason and guided Chicago to six championships in an eight-year span in the ’90s. He presumably wants nothing more than to see the Hornets make the postseason and ultimately win a title.
Stealing Oubre Jr. away from Curry and the Warriors is a good move for Jordan, but he has plenty more to make to turn the Hornets into a playoff contender.
Will the Hornets ever get a superstar?
Superstars win championships in the NBA. Ball could certainly turn into one in the future, but if Jordan wants to deliver a title to Charlotte, he needs to sign an established superstar soon.
The problem is that elite players likely won’t have the Hornets high on their board despite Jordan being the majority governor since Charlotte isn’t a big market city. While it would be special to see LeBron James, Kevin Durant, or Curry take their talents to the Hornets, the odds of that happening are essentially next to none.
Oubre Jr. is a sound addition to the Hornets. Jordan should be pleased that he was able to snatch him away from Curry and the Warriors. Now, we’ll have to see how the team performs next season after revamping the roster to some degree.