In a wide-ranging interview with the Charlotte Observer, Bobcats owner Michael Jordan admitted he "made a couple phone calls" regarding a potential trade for James Harden.
The defending NBA Sixth Man of the Year and U.S. Olympian was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets Sunday after contract negotiations with the Thunder fell apart. Obviously, Jordan's comments open the door for speculation as to which assets may have been available for trade.
Jordan addressed the question of how he intends to attract top free agents in general:
"If the (collective bargaining agreement) operates the way it's supposed to, there will be very few teams with the right cap space (to pursue major free agents). Hopefully we can start picking them off that way, by maintaining our flexibility. Maybe we can provide them with the financial reward most players are starting to look for. Hoping the CBA will work that way for small-market teams -- some parity," Jordan said.
The Bobcats, which set a league record for futility by finishing the 2011-12 season at 7-59, have been desperate to improve both the quality of the team's play and the number of fans in the stands.
Jordan, who has been criticized for personnel decisions since assuming control of the franchise in March 2010, installed former St. John's assistant Mike Dunlap as head coach before this season. Dunlap has instituted long preseason practices, which have drawn the ire of some players. Jordan dismissed the players' grumbling:
"Yeah, I heard that and I saw it. Which is one of the reasons I went to watch practice. And I didn't see anything that was different from when I played the game of basketball. I think the perception is a little bit different, maybe the expectation is a little bit different and this is where we've got to hold firm. This is what championship teams do. If we did it in Chicago and we became a championship team, why wouldn't we want to do that here? If you turn your nose up to it, then maybe you need to look in the mirror and see that you're a part of the problem....
"The next day, it seemed like everybody was on board. So I think they got it. I wanted them to hear it coming from management.... We're going to do everything we can to upgrade and bring stability," Jordan said.
Charlotte opens its 2012-13 season Friday night by hosting the Indiana Pacers at Time Warner Cable Arena.