Winderman: Jordan not playing with OPM anymore


NBA_jordan.jpgEven those not familiar with advance stats have been quick to notice how Michael Jordan has flourished over the years with OPM.

Now, with Wednesday’s ownership approval from the NBA’s Board of Governors, that figures to change.

Jordan’s success with other people’s money, be it Jerry Reinsdorf’s, Abe Pollin’s or even Bob Johnson’s, no longer is at play.

And the reality that he was able to get controlling interest in the Bobcats at a mere fraction of what Johnson paid for the expansion team in 2003 says this isn’t a franchise exactly flush in cash, but rather one hemorrhaging dollars.

So, what will it be from M.J.?

Jordan’s college roommate at North Carolina, current Appalachian State coach Buzz Peterson, offered one clue.

“I’m happy for him,” Peterson said. “I know it’s something he wanted.”

Yet even Peterson was quick to note that it only is a matter of time before Jordan limits his financial exposure.

“He won’t change, though,” Peterson mused. “Going through the McDonald’s line, he still won’t pay for it. That won’t change. He’s always tight.”

Jordan has been a minority investor, with complete oversight of basketball operations, since June 2006.

That’s when he was dealing mostly with OPM. But even then, he said he did not see a need for the franchise to operate in the luxury tax.

That could make coming months particularly intriguing, with the Bobcats already at roughly $60 million in committed salary for next season and the 2010-11 luxury tax anticipated by one general manager to fall in the $65 million range.

So will there be a competitive offer to Raymond Felton in free agency?

Will Tyrus Thomas, another impending free agent, prove little more than a short-term rental?

And what happens when Larry Brown expresses his unceasing affection for Larry Hughes in coming weeks, let alone for another free agent he positively must have this summer?

Creative management when it comes to the 2010-11 contracts of DeSagana Diop and Nazr Mohammed could allow for fiscally responsible growth.

But in a league where money means everything to one (Donald T. Sterling), not so much to some (Mark Cuban) and seemingly not very much to others (step on down Mikhail Prokhorov), it will be interesting to see how reformed Jordan grows with one particular metric now out of his operational means.

Suddenly, for M.J., OPM no longer factors into the equation.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Looks like Donovan to keep Andre Roberson, Steven Adams as starters

Los Angeles Clippers v Oklahoma City Thunder
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Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.

But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start  Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.

There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.

Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….

Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.

This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.

If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88

Harry Gallatin
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The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.

Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.

Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.