Tag: Cody Zeller

Michael Jordan

Report: NBA says Michael Jordan can’t decide who gets Air Jordan shoe deal


This ties into why Clippers offering DeAndre Jordan a $200,000 a year sponsorship with Lexus led to a $250,000 fine

Michael Jordan’s Air Jordan shoe brand through Nike dominates the market — 58 percent of basketball shoes sold last year were Jordans. That 13 times more than LeBron James, who has the best selling shoe among active players. Nike owns 95.5 percent of the basketball shoe market (according to Forbes).

One of the NBA’s concerns with Michael Jordan as the owner of the Charlotte Hornets is that he could supplement players’ salaries with shoe deals. So the NBA cut that option off, reports Darren Rovell of ESPN.

This isn’t just a Jordan rule, pretty much any NBA owner could pull off something similar (at least Ballmer didn’t offer a Microsoft endorsement). The rule is there for a reason.

The Jordan brand is well managed and not hurting in the least. It still has deals with Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony and nearly two dozen more current and former NBA players. There are Hornets — Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller — on that list.

In fact, Kidd-Gilchrist just took what could be seen as a below-market $52 million contract extension to stay in Charlotte. Not that there was any quid pro quo here, but the NBA wants to avoid that appearance.

It’s easy to understand the NBA’s concern — if Jordan could say “I’ll pay you a couple hundred thousand extra to wear my shoes” it would be an unfair recruiting advantage. So they are trying to tie his hands.

Not that it is impacting shoe sales, or how much Jordan rakes in from Nike.

Report: Hornets signing 7-footer Jason Washburn

Pac 12 Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals

The race for the Hornets’ final roster spot just got a little deeper.

Charlotte has 14 players with guaranteed contracts plus Elliot Williams ($80,000 guaranteed), Aaron Harrison ($75,000 guaranteed) and Sam Thompson (unclear guarantee).

Before trimming its roster to fit the regular-season limit of 15, the Hornets are adding another candidate.

E. Carchia of Sportando:

Jason Washburn will sign with the Charlotte Hornets for the training camp, a source told Sportando.

Washburn went undrafted out of Utah in 2013. The 7-foot center has played overseas since. He wasn’t really touted as a draft prospect two years ago, and the biggest red flag is his lackluster rebounding for his size.

I’d guess the Battle Creek, Mich., native didn’t get any guaranteed money. If so, that would put him further behind the competition for Charlotte’s final spot.

Washburn’s best chance isn’t outplaying Williams, Harrison and Thompson. It’s the Hornets deciding they need more help at center. Al Jefferson will start, and Spencer Hawes will back him up. But is Tyler Hansbrough, Frank Kaminsky or Cody Zeller comfortable as the third center? I think Hansbrough can handle it, but if he can’t, that opens the door slightly for Washburn.

Report: Hornets reach deal with Tyler Hansbrough

Newly acquired NBA basketball player Hansbrough goes up for a slam dunk during a photo shoot  for the Toronto Raptors in Toronto

One former Tar Heel is coming home.

Tyler Hansbrough has agreed to a deal to join the Charlotte Hornets, something first reported by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. While not yet announced, is almost certainly for the veteran minimum.

Hansbrough spent the last two seasons playing a limited role off the bench in Toronto. Last season he averaged just more than 14 minutes a game, scored 3.6 points and grabbed 3.6 rebounds a game.

He likely will play the same limited role in Charlotte. They have Al Jefferson starting at center with Spencer Hawes behind him. At Hansbrough’s preferred four spot there is Cody Zeller, and the just-signed Frank Kaminsky. That’s not a lot of minutes for Hansbrough.

Hansbrough plays with energy, is strong on the glass (particularly on the offensive end), and is a decent defender. However, he has almost no shooting range and doesn’t stray from the rim much — last season 89.6 percent of his shots were within 10 feet. That makes him defendable.

Still, the former Tar Heel should be popular with the fans.

Portland trades Nicolas Batum to Charlotte for Noah Vonleh, Gerald Henderson

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers

UPDATE 9:08 pm: It has become official, the trade announced by the Portland Trail Blazers. It was as reported, with Nicolas Batum going to Charlotte and Noah Vonleh and guard Gerald Henderson.

“Nic Batum was a key contributor to all of our recent success,” Portland GM Neil Olshey said in a released statement. “He will truly be missed as a person and a player. We wish Nic all the best for the future.”

7: 29 pm: Is this a signal that the Portland Trail Blazers think LaMarcus Aldridge is leaving as a free agent, and it’s time to rebuild for the future around Damian Lillard?

It’s too early to say with any certainty, but this trade about to be finalized and reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports certainly feels like it could be the first step in that direction.

Of course, the Blazers say this is not the first step in a rebuild.

Charlotte had been shopping Cody Zeller in search of wing help, but Portland clearly preferred the the younger, cheaper four on the Hornet roster.

I like this trade for Charlotte. This is a team that was 30th in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage, plus a team that took a step back defensively last season. Nicolas Batum can help on both those fronts if healthy. The Frenchman struggled some last season battling injuries, and eventually needed wrist surgery, however, he is expected to be healthy for the start of next season. He is set to make $12.2 million in the last year of his deal.

The buzz is that this means Charlotte will take Frank Kaminsky at the No. 9 pick. He could be the kind of pick-and-pop four they hoped Noah Vonleh would develop into.

And he still might. Vonleh is still a teenager, a guy who always was going to need some time to develop, and now Portland will have him on his rookie contract to make that happen. Vonleh is seen as a potential four who can stretch the floor, but Charlotte had concerns about his defensive awareness. The Trail Blazers also pick up a solid veteran rotation guard in Gerald Henderson. They also save about $3.5 million in cap space that can go to luring free agents.

This just doesn’t feel like the kind of trade a win-now team would make, and Portland with Aldridge would be a win-now team. It makes you wonder what they know, and what’s next.

Steve Clifford sounds pessimistic about Al Jefferson, Michael-Kidd Gilchrist, Cody Zeller returning to Hornets this season

Milwaukee Bucks v Charlotte Hornets
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The Hornets are playing the Heat right now in a key matchup between teams trying to stay in the playoff race.

A win wouldn’t put the Hornets (11th in the Eastern Conference, 1.5 games out of playoff position) into postseason position – and it wouldn’t give them a roster capable of taking the team over the hump.

Charlotte is playing without Al Jefferson, Michael-Kidd Gilchrist and Cody Zeller, and that could remain the case.

Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald:

Even if Jefferson gets back on the court, he’ll probably be limited. Not having Zeller to space the floor or Kidd-Gilchrist to relieve pressure on defense would only make Jefferson’s task harder.

The Hornets got off to a horrid start, and it seemed Lance Stephenson would undo them. That they’re still in playoff contention speaks to their resolve and the East’s wretchedness.

But win or lose against Miami tonight, it seems Charlotte is running out of gas as the finish line approaches.