Michael Jordan (bench, far left) watches Jennings, Bogut, and the rest of the Bucks take on his Bobcats, April 2, 2010. The next day, Bogut severely injured his elbow.

Michael Jordan Praises Bogut to Aussie Paper; NBA Fine to Follow?

Michael Jordan revealed his love for Andrew Bogut’s game in a newspaper interview this week.  The problem:  During the lockout, NBA team employees have been prohibited from specifically mentioning players by name — under threat of heavy fines from the NBA (reportedly up to $1 million).

In an interview with Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Jordan attempted to elaborate on the issues facing small-market NBA teams, especially in relation to star players.  But by naming a specific player, Jordan opened himself up to possible action by the NBA league office.

“The model we’ve been operating under is broken. We have 22 or 23 teams losing money, (so) I think we have gotta come to some kind of understanding in this partnership that we have to realign,” Jordan said.

“I can’t say so much … but I know the owners are not going to move off what we feel is very necessary for us to get a deal in place where we can co-exist as partners.

“We need a lot of financial support throughout the league as well as revenue sharing to keep this business afloat.

“We have stars like Bogut who are entitled to certain type of demands. But for us to be profitable in small markets, we have to be able to win ballgames and build a better basketball team.”

Jordan said small-market teams would benefit greatly from a “hard” salary cap, and it would allow clubs such as Milwaukee to plan a future on key players including the Australian centre.

“Bogut is a good piece to build around for Milwaukee,” Jordan said.

“I love Bogut’s game. He’s made a very good start and he’s definitely gonna be a star.

“His big problem is that he’s been dealing with that elbow injury.

“But he is a star to be reckoned with (and) will be a star for some time.”

Well then.  MJ certainly didn’t make any thinly-veiled, penalty-avoiding references there; that’s complete honesty about a player he respects.  On the bright side, it’s nice that one of the Bucks is getting love from the world’s most famous and successful basketball player.  Plus, Jordan has the funds to pay any fines conjured by David Stern and Adam Silver.  The lockout won’t stop anyone from buying a pair of Air Jordans.

Bogut tweeted his response to MJ’s unsolicited praise, saying that it would serve as an extra impetus during his elbow rehabilitation.

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