MJ's Mailbag - March 2011
With the All-Star Break and trade deadline behind us, it’s time to focus on the stretch run and drive to the Playoffs. Obviously we made some big moves recently, and I’ll talk about that a little more in the mailbag. Before then, I want to reiterate that our goal for this season remains the same – get back to the Playoffs. I like what we’ve done so far this year, and I think we’ll continue to be right there through March and April. Every game counts, and I like our chances.
On to the mailbag.
I got more notes of support and encouragement in this batch of emails than any of the others this year. To John, Sean, Jonathan, Keith, Kyler, Andy, Greg, Ricardo, Freddie, Debrah, Jane, Supreme, Sasa, Michael, Crystal, Adriene, Chris, Anthony, Ronald, Brenda, Robert, Sonya and Jacob – thank you for all the kind words. I really do appreciate the feedback.
Edwin, Garry and Chris – please check out where you can view our games on television in North and South Carolina here.
The first question in this mailbag that I’ll answer comes from Andrew in the Triangle. He wants to know what our thinking is behind the trades that sent Gerald to Portland and Nazr to Oklahoma City. These trades allow us to play for the present and build for the future. As I said above, I still expect to make the Playoffs this year and I think we’re in a position to do that. The guys we got from Portland and OKC can help us right now. When you add the First Round draft picks and future cap flexibility we gained, these trades really allowed us to remain competitive while setting ourselves up to add some key pieces over the next three years.
Joe in Advance, North Carolina and Andrew in Harrisburg, North Carolina want to know when we’ll remove the interim tag from Coach Silas. Right before the All-Star Break we announced that Paul will be our Head Coach for the remainder of this season and through the end of the 2011-12 season. He and his staff have done a terrific job, and they have us back on-track towards returning to the Playoffs. That’s what we wanted when we hired him as our interim coach, and that’s why we’ve decided to remove that tag and reward him with a contract extension. Click here for more on what Paul and General Manager Rod Higgins had to say at the press conference right before the All-Star Break.
After I practiced with the team a few times last month, I saw lots of rumors and stories about me coming back to play. Joe in Rockford, Illinois and Richard in Washington asked me point-blank if I would play for Bobcats this year. The answer is no. I’m the owner now and that’s what I’m 100% focused on. It was fun being out there with the guys for a couple of days, but I did it to help them get better, nothing more.
Jose in Mexico City wants to know if I ever have mixed feelings when the Bobcats play the Bulls. The only feeling I ever have during a game is that I want to win. That’s how I approached it as a player, and that’s how I approach it as an owner. I think I’ve shown that a competitive person can have friendships and good relationships with other competitors. But when the ball goes up I’m all about winning, and that’s where my focus is every time the Bobcats play the Bulls or anybody else.
Danilo in Los Angeles and Pradesh from Nepal both want to know where I see this franchise heading in the next few years. I like the process we’ve put in place since I became Chairman of looking at every possible contingency and evaluating every possible opportunity to improve our roster and our business. My executive team, on both the basketball and business sides, is working together to figure out the best approach on every issue we face. As we continue to develop that process we’ll be able to make better decisions that push this franchise towards being a model in the NBA. Of course I want to win, but I don’t want it to be a one-and-done scenario. I want to win consistently and be a perennial playoff team. I also want to make a difference in the community, and build something that people are proud to call their own. That’s the direction I see us heading.
Ernie in Indian Trail and Steve in Rock Hill are both concerned about renewing their season tickets in the event of a work stoppage next year. If that happens, all Season Ticket Holders will get a refund on the pro-rated portion of any games missed, plus interest. We’ve tried to make renewing as risk-free as possible, and this ensures you won’t lose any money in the event of a work stoppage. Reach out to your personal account manager for more details on that.
Brandy in Carrboro, North Carolina wrote asking for advice about her son who is having trouble understanding the importance of getting an education. I know that’s a real concern among parents throughout the Carolinas, and that’s why we’re making it one of three focus areas in our community relations efforts. I would tell Brandy’ son that school should be his number one priority because every opportunity he has in this life will come from his level of education. The higher the level he achieves, the greater the opportunities he’ll have.
Finally, Clarence in Greenville, South Carolina wants to know if I had the ball in my hands, down 1 with 5 seconds to go, would I pass or shoot? Without question, I would make the play that gives us the best chance to win the game. I missed way more potential game-winning shots than I made over the course of my career, but I was never afraid to take them if it was the best option available. Sometimes a defense would send 2 or 3 players at me in that situation, and I would look for the open man who is usually cutting to the basket. Either way, I would simply read the defense and make the best decision I could because winning was the only thing that mattered to me when I played.