The Charlotte Hornets are 4-12 and have lost LaMelo Ball to a sprained ankle again — just three games into his return from the same injury — after he stepped on a fan’s foot chasing a loose ball. Add that last season’s leading scorer Miles Bridges being away from the team, very likely for the entire season, due to domestic violence charges and things feel bleak in Charlotte.
Which in turn has general managers of playoff teams around the league eyeing the Hornets veterans as trade assets — Terry Rozier, Mason Plumlee, maybe Gordon Hayward or youngster P.J. Washington — and thinking the Hornets could pivot to tanking for Victor Wembanyama.
However, would Michael Jordan okay that? From Sean Deveney of Heavy.com.
“The hurdle is getting the owner to go along with it,” the GM told Heavy Sports. “It is Michael Jordan. He has never OK’d something like that and it is not clear he would, even if it gets bad this year, even if it puts them in a good spot in the draft for Victor (Wembanyama). He has been pretty strong against tanking. Hard to see another way forward for them now, though.”
There was a sense heading into the season that it would be easier to get owners, in general, to buy in on a pivot to tanking this season because they saw how Wembanyama looked against the G-League Ignite — he is clearly a generational talent. Add in an elite talent like Scoot Henderson at the top of the draft and owners might go for it in a way they usually would not.
However, this is the famously competitive and stubborn Michael Jordan. Would he really go for that?
A few more losses — it’s unclear how long LaMelo will be out with this second injury to the same ankle — and the path may be clear. Even to Jordan. But will he go against his nature and instincts and okay it? It’s something to watch over the coming couple of months.