Former good pals Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley don't speak anymore, according to Barkley, after Barkley said some truthful things about Jordan's serial mismanagement of the NBA's Charlotte franchise. (Jordan is the majority owner.) This year though Barkley, like many in the league, was quick to praise a Jordan-orchestrated rejuvenation--things were looking up in Charlotte.
Returning to their original name, the Hornets (formerly Bobcats) looked ready to take advantage of a weak Eastern conference. To add a final piece to the puzzle, Jordan signed earblower and defensive stopper Lance Stephenson over the summer--a $27 million move that was supposed to push the team into contention. But Stephenson is shooting 27% from the field, averaging 9 points a game and the Hornets defense hasn't stopped anybody. There's no way Jordan, who has been criticized for years for his management style, is happy about a 4-12 start. At least the bright lights on LeBron James's unexpectedly mediocre start in Cleveland has taken some of the shine off Jordan's continued struggles as a basketball executive. It's still early, but the Hornets don't have much sting.
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