Dan Feldman

19 Jan 2000: Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals, left and Abe Pollin, owner of the Washington Wizards, welcome Michael Jordan as an investor and partner in Lincoln Holding and name Jordan as President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards at a press conference at the MCI Center in Washington D.C. <>
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Irene Pollin: Michael Jordan went haywire after Wizards ousted him


Nobody can own a team/run a team’s front office while playing in the NBA.

We all learned that when Michael Jordan came back for the Wizards.

Jordan sold his ownership stake in the Wizards and resigned as president of basketball operations in 2001. He played two years for a minimum salary, filling the stands and drawing national attention to Washington.

Everyone – including Jordan – figured he’d return to an executive role after his third retirement.

But then-Wizards owner Abe Pollin opted not to re-hire Jordan. Pollin’s widow, Irene Pollin, who controlled the team briefly after his death, recounts the saga in her new book.

Irene, via Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post:

After many carefully thought-out meetings with senior staff and lawyers, Abe agreed to meet with Michael in his office. Knowing this would be a difficult meeting, his advisers suggested he tell Michael that he had “decided to go in a different direction.” They felt, after reviewing his performance, they had no choice. It was not personal. They all liked and admired Michael; it was purely business.

This was not what Michael expected. He was shocked. What followed was a heated discussion of what had and had not been promised. But after Abe repeated his decision “to go in a different direction,” Michael lost it. He became very angry and began shouting. At that point, Abe walked out of the room as Michael called him several unflattering names. Michael stormed out of the room, went down to the parking garage, jumped into his Mercedes convertible with Illinois license plates, took the top down, and drove directly back to Chicago.

Abe came home extremely shaken. In fact, I had never seen him so upset over team business. He never expected such a reaction. He’d always been a good negotiator. People always responded to him positively in those situations because he was “cool” and fair. This had never happened to him. It probably was a first for Michael as well. Nobody had probably said no to him in a long time.

During the following week, while we were taking a few days in Rehoboth, Abe was still visibly upset.

Exaggerated? Maybe. Irene probably wasn’t positioned to know whether Jordan actually drove directly from Abe’s office to Chicago.

But she saw how the meeting affected Abe, and that came from somewhere. Jordan is notoriously competitive and a tremendous winner. It’s completely believable that he’d lash out after not getting his way.

Also for fair reason.

Jordan took a far-below-market deal to help the Wizards. They used him and then told him to kick rocks. His indignation is justifiable, and he has never hidden his disdain for Abe’s handling of the situation.

Now, we have a better idea just how intense Jordan’s anger ran.

Derek Fisher: ‘I have no steadfast plan to play again’

Derek Fisher
AP Photo/Darren Hauck

Derek Fisher is reportedly interested in making a comeback as a player. That’s ridiculous, because Fisher is nearly 42 and has completed a head-coaching tenure with the Knicks.

So, everyone laughed at him.

Now, he’s trying to quiet the jokes.


Fisher, like a lot of retired players, likes to stay in shape by playing basketball. Fisher, like a lot of people (myself and probably you included), would listen if an NBA team expressed interest.

But I doubt any team wants Fisher, so hopefully his sentiment here is genuine. If he’s really intent on playing again and is just trying quiet the chatter, this likely ends in disappointment.

Klay Thompson: I’m not sacrificing for Kevin Durant

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 28:  Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors drives against Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder during the fourth quarter in game six of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 28, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Stephen Curry said neither Kevin Durant nor the Warriors will have to change for the other.

Klay Thompson concurs – at least when it comes to himself.

Thompson, via Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

“I feel kind of disrespected that people keep using the term sacrifice to describe me and describe us,” Thompson told The Vertical. “We all want to see each other do well. But I’m not sacrificing [expletive], because my game isn’t changing. I’m still going to try to get buckets, hit shots, come off screens. I want to win and have a fun time every game we play.

Thompson has repeatedly stated a willingness to defer, and I think that’s sincere. As long as the Warriors keep winning – and they should keep winning – he can find fulfillment without posting big individual numbers. I’m not (too) concerned about Thompson’s ego.

But Thompson is destined to get even fewer touches now. What if that makes it more difficult for him to get into a rhythm? If he’s less comfortable, that could be a problem.

Durant, via Charania:

“We want Klay to stay Klay,” Durant told The Vertical. “We don’t want him to change. The games dictate where the shots come from. I may shoot 12 shots one night; Klay may shoot eight or nine shots one night, and Steph may shoot 25 shots one night. And it could be a different flow another night.”

At least everyone is saying the right things now. That’ll help set a tone for inevitable rough patches.

Plus, winning cures nearly all ills. Even if the Warriors don’t mesh seamlessly, they’re so talented, they could still win plenty as they work out the kinks. That gives them a big advantage over other teams with similar potential sacrifice issues, like the Magic.

Michael Jordan’s pick to star in ‘Space Jam 2’: Blake Griffin, not LeBron James

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 16: Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers tries to drive against LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers at Staples Center on January 16, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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LeBron James will reportedly star in “Space Jam 2.”

But if the star of the original movie – Michael Jordan – had his druthers, Blake Griffin would get the main role in the sequel (hat tip: Adam Reisinger of ESPN):


Michael Jordan picks who he would choose to star in Space Jam 2. (Submitted by @lashmiller)

A video posted by Sports Videos (@houseofhighlights) on

Griffin probably would have taken the role if offered. Alas, his marketability has taken a big hit (pun intended).

Report: Cavaliers re-signing James Jones

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 22: James Jones #1 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts during the Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 NBA Championship victory parade and rally on June 22, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
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James Jones has played in five straight NBA Finals, second-most outside the 1950s/60s Celtics:

Jones won’t catch his era’s leader next year, because his fate will remain tied to LeBron James.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

It sounds as if Jones will make the $1,551,659 minimum. However, because it’s a one-year deal, the Cavaliers will pay him and be taxed at just $980,431. (The NBA covers the difference).

Richard Jefferson replaced Jones as the aging combo veteran of choice last season, and Cleveland was better for it. Jefferson also returns, and the Cavs acquired Mike Dunleavy. So, Jones will likely get an even smaller role at age 36.

LeBron clearly likes Jones, who followed him from Miami to Cleveland. That’ll keep Jones employed. If he hits a few spot-up 3-pointers in limited minutes, all the better.