49ers

How long will Michael Jordan run the Bobcats?

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How long will Michael Jordan run the Bobcats?

From Comcast SportsNetCHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Michael Jordan could no longer hide his frustration midway through the Bobcats' dismal season last year. Not wanting anyone to see how angry he was, Charlotte's owner moved from his seat at the end of the team's bench to his more secluded luxury suite high above the court.Still, he didn't give up on his club then and he isn't now.The ultra-competitive Jordan said despite watching his club "hit rock bottom" during the most miserable season in NBA history, he's "in it for the long haul" when it comes to seeing his struggling franchise transformed into a consistent winner.He knows it won't be a quick, easy process."Are we a playoff team? C'mon, we can't expect that," Jordan said Thursday. "But we need to get the ball rolling in the right direction. I'm not real happy about the record book scenario last year. It's very, very frustrating."Charlotte finished 7-59, recording the worst winning percentage (.106) in NBA history.Jordan, who won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls, believes he has the right man to turn things around in new coach Mike Dunlap.Dunlap has taken a no-nonsense, back-to-basics approach to coaching basketball -- something Jordan said has been missing in Charlotte."For years those steps have been skipped," Jordan said. "We don't have a star that can carry the team, so you've got to learn to play together. That is what I love about (Dunlap). He's going to get back to the basics with good passes, pivots, boxing out, running, taking care of the ball and taking good shots. All of the things that were lost."Jordan said the challenge has been getting players to buy in, particularly when it comes to Dunlap's grueling three- to four-hour marathon practices.But he's there to make sure they do.Jordan saw what he perceived as "resistance" from some players to Dunlap's ways earlier this week, pulled them aside after practice and dressed them down. He told them he fully supports Dunlap's philosophy and if they don't agree with it, they won't be around for long.That seemed to get the players' attention.Jordan said the next day he saw a change in attitude."I want to establish a culture within this organization so that when you plug a guy in, the culture is sitting there and no one guy is bigger than that culture," Jordan said. "You either fit in or you don't fit in. When you look at organizations that are established they have a winning culture."Jordan said once the Bobcats establish that culture more big-name free agents will want to come to Charlotte."Last year we went through the process of stripping down the organization and trying to build that back up," Jordan said. "And this is another step toward that. Getting a young coach who understands our vision about what type of team we want to be and then being able to go pluck some of these (free agents) to mesh with what we have."The Bobcats added some veteran leadership to a young team this offseason, claiming center Brendan Haywood off waivers, trading for guard Ben Gordon and signing free agent Ramon Sessions from the Los Angeles Lakers.While all three are proven commodities and bring various skills, none are considered franchise players -- certainly not the way Jordan was with the Bulls.Jordan would love to have a marquee player.And if that player does comes available in free agency or via trade -- and if he wants to play in Charlotte -- Jordan said he's willing to go to great lengths to get him."I'll spend money, that's not even a question, if a person fits what we want to do and it makes sense," Jordan said. "But I don't think it makes sense for us to be in a luxury-tax situation and fighting for the eighth spot in the playoffs. That doesn't make any sense. You have to spend money wisely."Jordan won't say when he expects the Bobcats to make the playoffs or even how many wins it would take for him to consider this a successful season.He only told Dunlap he expects the team to be much better on Feb. 1 than it is Friday night when Charlotte opens the season against the Indiana Pacers."Our (long-term) success is predicated on a lot of things, especially this year," Jordan said. "First, how will the (young players) adapt to the process we're going through. We'll know what holes we have to plug at the end of the year because we have some key contracts coming up" with Gerald Henderson and Byron Mullens becoming free agents."We will start to plug some of that," Jordan said. "But it's hard for me to make that suggestion of two or three years we're going to be in the playoffs. I hope we are."The Bobcats should have significant salary-cap space next year, and Jordan hopes the new CBA will prevent players jumping to what he calls "mega-teams" and create more parity throughout the league.Any way you look at it, Jordan and the Bobcats have a long way to go. But Jordan wants to see it through."I don't anticipate getting out of this business," he said. "My competitive nature is I want to succeed. It's always been said that when I can't find a way to do anything, I will find a way to do it."I didn't get in the business to try to get out. Granted I want to turn this thing around as fast as possible but this is obviously a process. I'm committed to it and I want to pass it down to my family members or my kids. I want this to always be in Charlotte."

49ers waive linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong

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USATSI

49ers waive linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers on Friday waived linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong to clear a roster spot.

The 49ers will activate defensive lineman Tank Carradine from injured reserve, coach Kyle Shanahan said. Carradine missed seven games after sustaining an ankle injury against the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 21.

Armstrong started five games for the 49ers early in the season before losing his job. Reuben Foster returned to the starting line after missing time with ankle and ribs injuries. Veteran Brock Coyle has established himself as the starting middle linebacker.

Armstrong ranks second on the 49ers behind Jaquiski Tartt with 53 tackles on the season. He also leads the 49ers with two interceptions. Then-general manager Trent Baalke signed Armstrong to a two-year contract extension last December that included a $500,000 signing bonus.

The 49ers will have their largest group of healthy inactive players on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. However, right tackle Trent Brown is questionable after sustaining a shoulder injury late in Thursday's practice, Shanahan said.

49ERS INJURY REPORT
Out
S Adrian Colbert (thumb)
Questionable
T Trent Brown (shoulder)
RB Raheem Mostert (shoulder)
WR Trent Taylor (ribs)
DE Solomon Thomas (knee)

Gameday: Two Warriors All-Stars out for Friday's game vs Bulls

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USATSI

Gameday: Two Warriors All-Stars out for Friday's game vs Bulls

The Warriors will be without their starting forwards Friday night when they return to Oracle Arena not only to face the struggling Chicago Bulls but also in search of good habits.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:30, with tipoff scheduled for 7:35.

Kevin Durant is out with a sprained ankle and Draymond Green will be resting.

The Warriors (13-5) are coming off a 2-2 road trip during which they blew a 17-point third-quarter lead in one of the losses and had to overcome a 24-point third-quarter deficit to earn one of the victories.

The rebuilding Bulls (3-13) are concluding a four-game swing through the Western Conference, having lost the first three games by an average of 15.7 points.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 15.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Omri Casspi & Co. vs. Lauri Markkanen: Markkanen has been one of the few bright spots for the Bulls this season. The 7-foot rookie from Arizona shares the team lead in scoring at 14.6 points per game, while leading in rebounds at 8.3 per game. The only Chicago rookies to score more points in their first 16 games are Michael Jordan, Derrick Rose and Elton Brand. With Green and Durant out, the task of defending Markkanen falls to Casspi, who will start at one forward, with rookie Jordan Bell also taking a few turns.

INJURY LIST

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L ankle sprain) and F Draymond Green (rest) are listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Bulls: G Zach LaVine (L ACL rehab), F Nikola Mirotic (facial fractures), G David Nwaba (R ankle sprain) and G Cameron Payne (R foot surgery) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2. Bulls: 2-8.

GAME OFFICIALS

Bennie Adams (lead), Mark Ayotte and JT Orr.

SERIES HISTORY

The teams split the two-game series last season, each winning on its home court. The Warriors have won five of the last eight overall and 14 of the last 18 in Oakland.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE INTENSITY METER: The Warriors believe, justifiably, that their biggest worry is about themselves. When they’re properly focused, they are the best team in the NBA. When they are not, they are susceptible to most any quality team. Insofar as Chicago doesn’t appear pose an explicit challenge, the Warriors must not only manufacture intensity but also maintain it.

KEEP ‘EM OFF THE LINE: The Bulls are dead last in the NBA in offensive rating (94.4), field-goal percentage (41.0), field goals made per game (35.7). The one thing they do well is shoot free throws, which they shoot at a league-leading 92.9 percent. The Warriors can be prone to fouls (only eight teams commit more), so they’ll have to play it smart against this opponent.

THE BENCH BUNCH: With Durant and Green out, along with this being the second game of a four-games-in-six-nights stretch, the Warriors will have to lean on their bench, which has been quite good. Its 54-percent shooting leads the league, as is its 4.2 blocks per game. The net rating 10.2 is second in the NBA.