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Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010
Time for Jordan to man up on Bobcats' plight
By PETER VECSEY
NEW YORK — A failure to approach, much less reach expectations, however impractical they may be, is bound to get authority figures fired sooner than later, which is precisely why Larry Brown again is on relocation and Kurt Rambis has a job for life.
Any NBA owner other than Donald Sterling and James Dolan would have fired himself for incapacitating his team the way Michael Jordan frustrated the Bobcats' progress this past summer. Instead, Next Town took the well-researched fall . . . getting snuffed out on Tobacco Road, apparently with the full support of the surgeon general.
So, less than a half season after Brown escorted the franchise to its first after-party and first winning record (44-38) since its 2004 inception, he was held accountable for the team's 9-19 stain in the standings, inability to score (60s, 70s, 80s and low 90s in losing six of his last seven games in charge), draw fewer witnesses than three-fourths of the league and make sure Gerald Wallace stays healthy.
As we've kind of detected from Brown's previous pit stops, the winning hides the whining. Losing (re-check all previous pit stops) does not.
Recently in no particular order, he sniveled a sliver about the departures of Raymond Felton, Tyson Chandler, high-tops, and The Automat.
In the spirit of the season, all of the above added up to an excommunication, though the uninformed insist Brown resigned and forfeited $8 million.
"Trust me, Larry did not quit," testifies someone in the proverbial room.
Had it been true, Next Town's assistants, including his older brother, Herb, would have elevated loyalty to a new exemplar by joining him on the unemployment line . . . and Larry would have been adopted by the Van Gundy brothers.
Interim coach Paul Silas is being permitted to assemble his own aides, as long as he hires Jordan's partners in pleasure and punishment. Charles Oakley already is on board.
Wide World Wes and cherished au pair Ahmad Rashard can't be far behind.
A new coaching staff should turn things around pronto for the Bobcats. In the meantime, maybe I missed it, but shouldn't Jordan be accepting a tinge of blame for his team's plunge?
Forget about the fact (as I have) he drafted Adam Morrison (whereabouts unknown) in 2006 with the third overall pick while acclaiming him "the next Reggie Miller." Anyone could have made that boo-boo, I suppose. Let's get more current than that.
Jordan let Felton (12.1 points, 5.6 assists) fade into free agency without so much as an offer — a response, no doubt, to Jameer Nelson manhandling his counterpoint in the first round?
He also channeled Chandler to Dallas during the offseason to save $12.6 million; Erick Dampier (and his largely non-guaranteed $13.078 contract) was acquired and subsequently waived.
Money pinching had to be Jordan's sole reason for the giveaway. Obviously, he got nothing in return for his team's starting center, who, by the way was good enough to make Team USA's gold-medal winning outfit and is a primary reason the Mavericks are 24-5.
Last week, Dirk Nowitzki compared Chandler's defensive talents to Kevin Garnett.
Whoops, I apologize; Jordan was able to negotiate the release of Eduardo Najera ($3 million/$2.7 million) and Matt Carroll ($4.3 million/$3.9 million/$3.5 million) from Mark Cuban's cushy domain . . . both of whom are incapable of contributing to a shanty team.
In the final analysis, organizations lose playoff position, not players.
Jerry Krause must be in hysterics.
As for Next Town Brown, the count now droops at nine NBA franchises visited and vacated by his welcome wagon. The lone suspense is whether any of the remaining 21 evidently (before contraction, an anti-union concept LeBron James eagerly endorses) will take his call.
Having spent some time around Brown since watching him play high school ball against Artie Heyman (Long Beach vs. Oceanside), he always has a job on tap. I've got a pesky hunch his ancient agent Joe Glass began calling around the league about possible openings the day after his client signed with the Bobcats.
Then again, more likely it was the same day.
My Paper Clips are 6 1/2 games removed from the eighth Western Conference playoff spot. Vinny Del Negro should be very nervous and very aware who's creeping around Sterling's back stairs.
Rambis, on the other hand, has no need to worry because the Timberwolves' expectations are negligible. The brains behind on-the-court operations could lose the next 19 games in a row and still not be in job jeopardy.
After an "acceptable" 15-67 debut season, Rambis is now 23-91 and 8-53 in his last 61 despite having the NBA's leading rebounder — Kevin Love (15.7 in addition to 20.8 points) — at his disposal.
This just in from column chondriac Richie Kalikow: "You're going to need a complex algorithm to determine whether Larry Brown or Larry King has severed more relationships."
Peter Vecsey cover the NBAfor the New York Post.