Blog Entry

NBA takeover could mean Hornets relocate?

Posted on: December 5, 2010 12:47 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:16 pm
A takeover by the NBA could signal a relocation is in the New Orleans Hornets' future and raises old questions about Chris Paul's future with thechris-paulteam. Posted by Ben Golliver We've been tracking the news that the NBA may step in to purchase the New Orleans Hornets pretty closely this weekend. First, here's the breaking news. Second, here's the explanation for why expected new owner Gary Chouest got cold feet. The early word was that the NBA would be looking for local investors to keep the franchise in New Orleans, where it's been since moving from Charlotte in 2002. The latest updates to the story, however, paint a bleaker picture for the future of basketball in New Orleans. The Times-Picayune says the NBA takeover "could be the absolute worst thing to happen in terms of the Hornets remaining in New Orleans beyond the next couple of seasons" because a league-run auction of the franchise would be open to bids from around the world.
Yes, sources indicated that the league would try to find a sole buyer or investment group that would keep the Hornets in New Orleans. There’s no reason to doubt the attempt wouldn’t be made.
But if the highest bidder came from, say, Seattle, the NBA’s desire to keep the team in New Orleans probably would take a back seat to that. In money matters, generally what matters most is money. And if deeper pockets from outside Louisiana emerge, and if that means the franchise is more likely to be economically sound because of it, the NBA hardly would be inclined to make a bad business decision.
Sports Illustrated reports Sunday that the NBA's takeover of the Hornets is imminent -- it could happen within the next few days -- and lists Kansas City, Anaheim and Chicago as possible relocation sites. One would assume the current sale process, which has dragged on for nearly a year, would have exhausted any other possible local ownership groups during its early stages. And if the giant "for sale" sign on the Hornets for the last nine months didn't attract a legit local buyer, it's difficult to see how a new "for sale" sign, this time embossed by the NBA's logo, is going to make much of a difference in the gulf. Making the possibility of relocation even more likely is a recent report that the Hornets are not hitting the attendance benchmarks needed to lock itself into its arena lease in New Orleans. In other words, should an outside buyer emerge with an eye towards moving the team to his destination of choice, a la Clay Bennett and the Oklahoma City Thunder, a major, expensive hurdle that usually exists wouldn't be there to slow down the process. It's grim news for the Hornets, their fans and, especially, new coach Monty Williams and new general manager Dell Demps, who have put the team's roster in order quickly upon their arrivals this summer and have created a winning basketball atmosphere in the face of all of this uncertainty and adversity.  In the long run, a new owner not named George Shinn is better for all involved, but the sale of the team will undoubtedly remain a painful process, one that could cost the team its franchise player, Chris Paul. If I'm Paul, intent on winning and competing for an NBA title in the short-term, thanks to questions about my surgically-repaired knee -- I take a step back and realize that franchises with this much front office turmoil simply do not win titles -- nor consistently compete for them -- in the NBA. If this ownership group can't even sell its majority stake properly, and there are no prospective buyers anxious to do a better job, how will this franchise ever build a true contender? The answer? It won't.  Which leaves Paul with two options: settle in for the (potentially years-long) long haul of up-and-down, day-to-day confusion about the franchise's direction, or start seriously exploring greener pastures. While trade requests are always met with a lot of backlash, in this case it's hard to tell who would blame him. It's one thing to carry four teammates on your back, it's another to carry an ownership group. No player can reasonably be expected to shoulder that burden. Update (5:25 pm):
The Times-Picayune reports Sunday afternoon that the NBA is maintaining a public commitment to the city of New Orleans, and has installed a Lousiana native to oversee the ongoing sale negotiations.
Jac Sperling, vice charrman of the NHL's Minnesota Wild is a New Orleans-born attorney who has in the past negotiated the sale of professional sports teams and guided the Wild into one of hockey's most successful franchises, according to a report at
A league source said Sunday that NBA Commissioner David Stern would likely be taking these steps because he firmly wants the Hornets to remain in New Orleans. By taking over the team, the source said, Stern would be able to ensure a sale to someone who was also committed to keeping the team in New Orleans. The Hornets said team president Hugh Weber would not comment on the latest developments, but that Weber would still be in control of the day-to-day operations of the team.
Of course the NBA is invested in franchise stability. And it's also invested in keeping Hornets fans interested in their team in the short term. The league has no choice but to take a pro-New Orleans stance publicly. But as Seattle recently taught basketball fans, money speaks far louder than rhetoric. The only hope for basketball in New Orleans is local money that has, to this point, been nonexistent. 

Since: Jan 1, 2008
Posted on: December 7, 2010 6:44 am

NBA takeover could mean Hornets relocate?

Actually, Seattle does have an arena that is fine for NBA.  The problem, it doesn't generate the type of revenue that the greedy NBA needs to survive.  You see, the NBA has a broken financial model, thus many teams are struggling to survive.  It started during the last lock out.  Up to that point Seattle's arena - Key arena was considered "state of the art."  (It was modified in 95).  When the financial framework changed, suddenly it wasns't good enough. College teams play there, the WNBA plays there and it's packed with concerts.
To fit the current NBA model, cities are forced to build mega arena's to satisfy the greedy and broken NBA.  It's strange how David Stern, in 1996 during the sonics championship run, could say on national TV, "Just look at this wonderful palace in Seattle!"  A few years later, he says, "you need a new arena."  Things changed that much in ten years?  I am a sports fan, but the last thing I want to see is our state or city government spend money on the NBA.  (It won't happen, they are broke).  The NBA is a joke, with over paid players, poor tv ratings and street thugs wearing uniforms. 

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: December 7, 2010 12:50 am

NBA takeover could mean Hornets relocate?

Seattle isn't getting a team without a new arena.  Bilbo Stern and his hobbits will stick to their pissing contest with the city.  But the city will never fund a bball arena anytime in the forseeable future.  (That little man gots a whole lotta ego)  Whatever, the NBA is rigged to increase TV ratings anyway...


Since: Apr 9, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2010 7:11 pm

NBA takeover could mean Hornets relocate?

The sonics had a good stadium.  The owner had no intention of leaving the team in Seattle when he bought the team.  Key arena is a good stadium.

Since: Apr 26, 2007
Posted on: December 6, 2010 6:25 pm

NBA takeover could mean Hornets relocate?

What a nightmare for NOLA fans. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Seattle SuperSonics because for some unknown reason they were my favorite team growing up. The reality of a team moving from Seattle to Oklahoma City didn't make any sense to me, but money talks. 


I live in Kansas City and would love to have an NBA team in our fine city.  The Sprint Center is NBA ready, and our growing community continues to support sports teams in our area. 

Heck, the Royals even draw fans and they've been one of the worst MLB franchises for the past decade. The Chiefs routinely sell out or come close.  The new renovation @ Arrowhead and sluggish economy has had only a slight impact on attendance for our Chiefs. 

Also, just a stone's throw from Kansas City's suburbs, The Kansas Jayhawks men's basketball program has continued to cram 16,500 into Allen Fieldhouse for what seems like an eternity.  A TOP 5 College program doesn't hurt their cause. 

Just my .02 cents.

Since: Jul 29, 2008
Posted on: December 6, 2010 5:02 pm

NBA takeover could mean Hornets relocate?

You have the Wizards already. How many times does the Maryland/DC area need to be represented?

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: December 5, 2010 6:35 pm

NBA takeover could mean Hornets relocate?


Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: December 5, 2010 6:35 pm

NBA takeover could mean Hornets relocate? Yes

Introducing ... your  NEWARK  Hornets!!!  Fall 2012

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: December 5, 2010 5:56 pm

NBA takeover could mean Hornets relocate?

"Seattle doesn't have an arena that can handle a NBA team.  If they did the wouldn't have moved the Sonics in the first place."

Don't speak, liar.

Since: Jul 21, 2008
Posted on: December 5, 2010 5:53 pm

NBA takeover could mean Hornets relocate?

I don't like the idea of a second team in Chicago. They should try and find a sports city that doesn't have an NBA team like St Louis or Pittsburgh or Miami.


Since: Sep 25, 2007
Posted on: December 5, 2010 5:27 pm

NBA takeover could mean Hornets relocate?

St. Louis or KC could make sense if the community would support it.  KC is a Football and College town as shown by the jayhawks and Chiefs.  St. Louis loves the Cardinals but has a hard time supporting a loser (Rams, Billikens, etc.)  I'd want to see the ownership group before KC or St. Louis is seriosuly involved.  Maybe the NBA could run the Hornets for a year like the Globetroters and showcase the team in arenas across the nation to see what community steps up to want the team the most.

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