Former Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan and the minority ownership group of the Washington Wizards yesterday had not finalized terms of a deal that could bring Jordan to the Wizards as part owner and director of basketball operations.
Talks were said to be continuing between Jordan and representatives for the Wizards' minority ownership group, led by America Online Inc. executive Ted Leonsis. Leonsis's group owns all of the NHL's Washington Capitals and 44 percent of the Wizards, MCI Center, US Airways Arena and Ticketmaster.
A stake in ownership is believed to be the only hurdle left to Jordan joining the struggling Wizards, who are 12-26 this season and have not won a playoff game since 1988.
Leonsis was believed to be in Florida, where the team has a game today against the Tampa Bay Lightning and on Wednesday against the Florida Panthers. Neither Leonsis, Jordan nor Jordan's agent, David Falk, was available to comment yesterday.
Wizards officials declined to comment on the negotiations.
Jordan, a five-time NBA most valuable player, has reached an agreement in principle with Wizards majority owner Abe Pollin that would have Jordan oversee and orchestrate the trading of players, free agent acquisitions and the hiring and firing of personnel, a league source said.
A source close to the situation said Jordan has expressed the desire to retain current General Manager Wes Unseld in a decision-making role.