Monday, May 5, 2003

Hornets fire Silas after 47-35 season

The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS - Paul Silas was fired as coach of the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday after five seasons in which he set the franchise record for victories.

The Hornets went 47-35 this season, finishing third in the Central Division. They were knocked out of the playoffs Friday night, eliminated in the first round in six games by the Philadelphia 76ers.

Silas leaves with an overall mark of 208-155 with the Hornets, who moved from Charlotte to New Orleans after last season. He took the Hornets to the playoffs each of the past four seasons, but they never advanced beyond the second round.

"We would like to thank Paul and his staff for all their efforts and hard work during their coaching tenure and with them the very best in their future opportunities," team majority owner George Shinn said in a prepared statement.

DUNCAN WINS MVP AWARD: Tim Duncan has trouble thinking of himself as an individual on the basketball court. Apparently, the voters for the NBA's MVP award don't.

The 7-foot San Antonio Spurs forward edged the Minnesota's Kevin Garnett to win that honor for the second straight season Sunday.

Duncan is just the eighth player to win back-to-back MVP awards.

"Elite players are the guys who help their team and take them to the top echelon of the league," Duncan said. "That's what separates the good ones from the great ones."

He claimed 60 of the 119 first-place votes for 962 points in voting by media members. Garnett got 43 first-place votes and 871 points.

LAKERS: The injury to forward Rick Fox's left foot is more serious than first thought, putting his availability for next season in question. An MRI showed he has a torn tendon.

JORDAN TO CHARLOTTE? Michael Jordan is interested in a possible role with the Charlotte expansion team and has talked recently with owner Robert Johnson about buying in as a partner, the Associated Press has learned.

Johnson and Jordan have a publicly acknowledged friendship.

"He and Bob have been talking," a source with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

"A deal isn't close. It's just the beginning of the discussion," said the source, who indicated that possible stumbling blocks could be the amount of control Jordan would want and the purchase price. "It isn't going to be a freebie," the source added.

The as-yet-unnamed team will begin play in the 2004-05 season.

The news of Jordan's possible involvement in Charlotte comes amid reports that his relationship with the Washington Wizards has deteriorated to the point where he and the franchise might part ways.

Jordan is expected to meet with Wizards majority owner Abe Pollin this week to discuss his future role with the team.

Jordan's talks with Johnson indicate that he is looking for alternative ventures that will keep him in the NBA - even if it isn't in Washington. Jordan has ties to the area, having grown up in Wilmington, N.C., before playing for Dean Smith at North Carolina

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