Before I get too deep here, please realize that a lot of this is written "tongue firmly in cheek" but it is interesting. And I can go all Jesse Ventura here and say, "Seems like a lot of coincidences to me!" But I think there are some interesting "coincidences" worth discussing in regards to what MJ is going to do between now and next season.
Okay, so here we go.
Around January 1st, I received an email from the Bobcats about renewing my season tickets for next season. My initial thought was, "Why are they sending this now?" I've been a STH since the beginning and the renewal campaigns typically don't start until March. This week, I received a package from the Bobcats about renewing for next season. It contained a letter from MJ and I've included a few excerpts below:
"When I became the owner of this franchise I made it clear that I was in this for the long term. My goal is to develop a team you can be proud of, and that someday competes for an NBA championship. I will not waver from this goal, and everything we do moving forward will put us in a position to enjoy sustained success in the NBA. This is not about me, or any player or coach. ............................Building an organization that can be successful over the long term does not happen overnight. In addition to the hard work our staff and players put in each and every day, it oftentimes takes a fortuitous event to bring about positive change. Please know that we have and will continue to evaluate every opportunity to make this team successful, while keeping in mind our vision for the future."
First of all, I'd like to give MJ some credit. He communicates with fans (especially STH), he's open and honest, and pretty transparent about his vision. But I couldn't help but read this an advance apology for what is about to come. He might as well be saying, "Look, I'm getting ready to do some things that are going to make us worse for awhile but please be patient with me. We're floundering in mediocrity and the only way to get past that is to get a little worse for awhile, and then build the right way. And we need to get a little lucky (fortuitous event) to get over the top."
I thought maybe I was reading too much into it so I flipped to the renewal details. They are desperately wanting everyone to renew by February 18th. If you renew by 2/18, you get 2 unbelievable perks. Free parking for the season and up to a $10 concession credit per seat, per game. Those are pretty substantial perks, possibly up to $1,000 for someone with 2 lower level tickets like myself. So naturally, I thought, "MJ really really wants everyone to renew by February 18th. What's the catch? This is a really early renewal date."
And then it hit me. The trade deadline is February 24th. The Cats want to get everyone renewed by February 18th before he blows this team up at the deadline. It also explains why he had to fire LB and bring in Silas to get some positive momentum for the STH renewal timeline. MJ wants to lock everyone's money up before we see the ugliness that is in store.
In fairness, there are a few other explanations to my conspiracy theory that I will address:
1) MJ is hemorrhaging money and needs to get some funds now to run the business. This is possible, although I'm betting the team is doing better financially this year than it has in the past. Lots more ticket sales and corporate partners.
2) This plan and timeline were already in place before the LB firing. MJ felt like he had to offer lots of perks to get the new disenfranchised fans to renew, after seeing such a crappy product the first 2 months. This is a possibility.
3) It's related to this summer's CBA. MJ knows it will start to get ugly soon and he wants renewals before a majority of the fans realize they could be paying for games that will never be played (and I know reimbursements will happen). This is definitely a possibility as well, although it doesn't explain all of MJ's comments about making moves for the long term as opposed to the short term. I do acknowledge that my "MJ is going to blow it up at the deadline" theory could be impacted by the CBA negotiations as well.
Well, I've said enough. What do you guys think?