CHARLOTTE, N.C. (MCT) — Charlotte Bobcats majority owner Michael Jordan put out a strongly worded statement Sunday, denying he is of a mind to sell the NBA team he bought from Bob Johnson two years ago.
New York Daily News NBA columnist Mitch Lawrence wrote that Jordan has contemplated selling if the team doesn’t turn around, both in performance and profitability. Citing an unnamed associate of Jordan’s, Lawrence quoted Jordan as saying if he “can’t make a profit in the next three to four years, then I’m selling.”
Jordan issued the following statement through the Bobcats:
“I was disturbed to hear the false report that I intend to sell my majority interest in the Charlotte Bobcats. I am 100% committed to building the Bobcats into a contender and have no plans to sell the team.”
Bobcats spokesman B.J. Evans said, to his knowledge, Lawrence never contacted the team for comment before publishing Sunday’s column.
Jordan bought control from Johnson in March 2010. Though that purchase involved relatively little money up front, Jordan took responsibility for a huge loan Johnson took out to finance the $300 million-plus expansion team in 2004.
The team’s financial situation has improved since Jordan took over, in terms of ticket and sponsorship sales, but Forbes magazine still estimates the Bobcats lose $10 million or more annually.
The Bobcats have the worst record in the NBA this season at 7-43.
The Daily News column said Jordan is counting on general manager Rich Cho to rebuild the team in the model of the Oklahoma City Thunder, which has the best record in the Western Conference at 40-12.
Cho, who joined the Bobcats in June, was No. 2 in the Thunder’s front office when it drafted Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
Cho said, in an e-mail to the Charlotte Observer, that to his knowledge there’s no validity to Jordan looking to sell the team.
The Bobcats will likely have a top-four draft pick this spring, and would potentially be in position to draft Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, Associated Press national player of the year.