View Full Version : Jordan Q&A: On Felton, trades and ownership

Sox Appeal
02-12-2009, 02:25 AM
Via: -CO (http://blogs.charlotte.com/inside_the_nba/2009/02/jordan-qa-on-felton-trades-and-ownership.html)

Q: Thereís been so much talk about Raymond Felton this season. Where do things stand with him as far as dealing with the fact heís going to be a restricted free agent?

A: No decision has been made. A lot of (teams) have called about Raymond. Our intention is to try to maintain our relationship with Raymond. Iím not saying weíre searching for a trade. But if things happen, a deal that makes senseÖI donít want Raymond to think Iím trying to trade him or whatever. But weíve had some conversations, based on teams coming to us about him.

Iíd like to think that Raymond is going to be here and we can come to an agreement over the summer about extending him. But Iím not going to say 100 percent that itís going to happen.

Right now, if you ask me where Raymond is going to be, Iím looking to extend Raymond at the end of the season.

Q: When you look at the complications Ė both base-year compensation (which would make Felton hard to sign-and-trade in July) and restricted free-agency Ė do you have any misgivings if this situation goes beyond the trade deadline?

A: Itís a thought. Is it an issue? I wouldnít say so, because at the end of the day, if we extend Raymond, then we intend to keep Raymond. A lot of things can happen in negotiations. I donít want his agent thinking weíd be backed into a corner (if they donít trade him now), that they can ask for anything.

There are a lot of people who would say, ĎWhy even put yourself in that predicament? Why not trade him before the deadline?í Iím not looking at it that way because heís still bringing value to our team.

We havenít really been healthy; weíre starting to play good basketball now. If thereís a deal that comes up, that we have to explore, then we have to do that from a business standpoint. But I canít say right now thatís on the table.

He may sign that qualifying offer and then we lose him all together (a year later). Thatís a risk. But does that mean I take less value for what my player is? I wouldnít do it that way.

Q: How would you evaluate Feltonís performance this season, versus in the past?

A: Heís gotten better under coach (Larry) Brown. Heís understanding what it means to be a point guard, differentiating that from a two-guard. One of the things I asked of Larry Brown, and even of Sam Vincent last year, is I needed them to put players in a scenario where we could evaluate their long-term value. Raymond has demonstrated he has a long-term value for us. He can play the point, heís able to play the two.

Q: Would you talk about the three deals youíve made and how different the team is from the one in Wilmington (for training camp):

A: We came into training camp not really knowing how these pieces would come together. ( Brown said) maybe we needed to juggle these pieces a little bit. Sean (May) wasnít quite up to playing the power forward position the way we expected of him, so we had to obtain a power forward (Boris Diaw). In the mix of that (trade) we were able to get a defensive guard with (Raja) Bell that gives us a different look.

As of late, Adam Morrison, coming off an injury situation, had seemed to have lost his confidence a little bit, he didnít have the understanding of how Larry expected him to play, offensively as well as defensively. I felt like something needed to happen for Adam, as well as the organization. I knew ( Vlade) Radmanovic from Washington, when we evaluated him (as a draft prospect). He can play small forward, he can play power forward, he can make a jump shot, and he does make an effort at the defensive end.

Juwan Howard came along as a stabilizing force, as a veteran player on a young team, in the locker room and as a power forward.

Itís a vast difference from what (was there) at Wilmington. I anticipate once everyone gets healthy, we can make a strong push toward the end of the season.

Are we set in stone on our roster? I canít honestly say that because at every moment weíre trying to improve out team without handcuffing ourselves financially.

Q: What would you say are the areas that still need to be addressed?

A: I think we need to shore up our bench a little more. We have a strong six or seven players, but to be a true playoff team, youíre going to have to have a bench to support those six or seven players. Health has been a really big thing right now; our record would be a lot better (without so many injuries), from Gerald Wallace to D.J. Augustin to even Sean May.

Q: Is there a particularly position youíre more concerned about than others?

A: As of right now, with Raja Bell hurt, we need a swing guy, more of a (shooting guard-small forward) who could come off the bench and offer support. Cartier Martin has done a good job for us, and we still have another open position. Iím waiting for coach to tell me what he wants to do about Cartier Martin for the rest of the season.

Q: You mention the open roster spot. Is it likely youíll leave that open until after the Feb. 19 trade deadline to leave yourself some flexibility?

A: Pretty much, yeah, although injuries can always alter your thought process.

Q: How disappointing is it how things turned out for Morrison here?

A: It doesnít always work. We took a gamble when we took Adam Morrison. We looked at his stats, looked at the way he plays the game. We felt like he could fit in well. Since then, we made two coaching changes and the latter coaches felt he could not fit within the circle of what we were trying to do.

Itís unfortunate he didnít work out for us. That doesnít mean he canít work out long-term with another team. I hope he does. Heís a good kid. Heís a gym rat. But we have to make tough decisions, and that was one.

Q: You have about $53-$55 million obligated to the salary cap for the 2010-11 season after acquiring Gana Diop and Radmanovic. Are you at all concerned about using up that much cap space two years out?

A: Iím always concerned, but we still have some flexibility. And some tough decisions to make. Everyone looks at (the summer of) 2010 as the year to buy into free-agency. I donít think stars will be moving as rapidly and as often as some think. Thatís just my opinion.

We have some very cool players who will last through that 2010 season. Iíd like to say weíll maintain flexibility, but if weíre playing solid basketball, heading in the right direction, I might just want to ride this thing out.

Q: Youíve always had misgivings about betting the future on signing big-name free agents, right?

A: How many name free agents have moved Ė real star players? Are we building a franchise where we can attract an elite star? Larry Brown has a Hall of Fame background, and Iíd like to think the organization, as well as my input, shows weíre headed in the right direction. But at the end of the day, when you talk about players losing money (by changing teams)Ė that extra year or that (higher) annual increase in salary (available to the retaining team, thatís unlikely.)

I donít know if we have the corporate structure (in Charlotte) that a player could make that up in endorsements. Iím trying to be realistic.

Q: How would you evaluate Larry?

A: I think Larry has done a great job. Heís evaluated, heís tried to fit the players into his style. Weíve had conversations constantly about players. There have been scenarios where we didnít agree and many when we did.

Q: What have you learned from drafting Kwame Brown and Adam Morrison, top-3 picks who didnít pan out?

A: Mistakes are going to be made. A lot of time things donít pan out. D.J. Augustin has panned out. I think Jared Dudley was a great pick (late in the first round). Itís a gamble sometime, no matter how much evaluationÖ

You canít foresee a lot of things in the draft Ė athleticism, basketball love, passion. You try to evaluate that, but itís not a pure science. Kwame Brown is a great example; if we (the Wizards) donít take Kwame Brown at No. 1, heís going to go at No. 2. Everyone had him on the radar for the top pick, we just happened to (have) the top pick and we chose him.

We take the brunt of that. Thatís the gamble when you take a high-school kid or maybe somebody not in (an elite college) conference or maybe a European player.

Q: Do you believe Sean May is close to playing regularly or are you playing out the string with him the rest of the season?

A: The coach presented a challenge to him and heís making up ground on those challenges. I think the kid can still play. He knows how to play. That first year he provided a lot of energy and a lot of skill. Getting him healthy has been the biggest issue. The unfortunate thing is a decision has to be made on Sean May this (summer, due to free-agency). I wouldnít make it right now, but if the kid couldnít play, why would we be getting so many calls (from other teams)?

Q: Are you getting those calls because someone wants to acquire Sean May or his expiring contract?

A: A little bit of both because the kid has potential. Heís low-risk (because his contract expires).

Q: Is Gerald Wallace now safe here?

A: We didnít put Wallace out there (as a trade commodity), other teams inquired. We have invested in Wallace because we think he can be an integral part of this success. I havenít backed away from that investment. Iím not looking to trade Gerald Wallace or anyone else, but itís weíll always listen.

Q: Where do things stand between you and majority owner Bob Johnson, as far as spending up to the luxury-tax limit?

A: At the beginning of each basketball season, Bob gives me a budget. Within that budget I try to operate to improve the team and stay within that budget. You manage the checkbook right, you can do both. I donít want to be messing around with the luxury tax unless weíre deep into the playoffs. If we can win a championship by messing around with the luxury tax, Iím willing to do it. But for now, it doesnít make sense to go anywhere near the luxury tax.

Q: This is obviously a better basketball team than the one that showed up in Wilmington, yet it isnít drawing much more fan interest. Has that been difficult to accept?

A: Weíre talking about tough economic times. I canít ask people in this community to build their lives around buying tickets to come to the Bobcats. What we do is provide entertainment. We hope that people, within their free time, will come out and enjoy us. To be upset that they choose not to entertain themselves, in the face of this economy, I canít argue that point.

We have to continue to draw them by making it more exciting.

Q: How much did Boris Diaw change the team?

A: A lot. He can distribute the ball, he can shoot the three, he can take the ball off the boards and start the break and he allows D.J. and Raymond to be on the wings as offensive threats. He gives us more versatility, which is so important in this era.

Q: You were quoted a while back about wanting to buy the entire team. Is that still the case and has anything happened with that?

A: I donít know if Bob is looking to sell the entire team. Heís considering a lot of things, a lot of opportunities. My (desire) to grow as an investor is still strong. Purchasing the whole team, I donít think thatís an option right now. But if parts of the team become available, and I can afford it as much as anybody, Iíd definitely like to grow my investment in the Bobcats.

02-12-2009, 02:37 AM
Nice link Sox Appeal. Interesting interview. Tough to read between the lines and see what his real intentions with the team are.

If we don't keep Felton, it will be a big mistake. He has been great under Brown and will only get better. This year has been a break through for him. He is so good at penetrating and finishing around the basket and is running the offense very effectively.