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Tag:New Orleans Hornets
Posted on: December 10, 2010 9:32 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:28 pm
 

Gary Chouest supports Hornets, what does it mean?

Former New Orleans Hornets minority owner Gary Chouest expresses his support for basketball in New Orleans. Posted by Ben Gollivergary-chouest The Associated Press is reporting that soon-to-be former minority owner of the New Orleans Hornets, Gary Chouest, remains interested in keeping the franchise in New Orleans. The Hornets, it was announced earlier this week, are set for takeover by the NBA after a deal between owner George Shinn and Chouest collapsed after months of negotiations.
Outgoing Hornets minority owner Gary Chouest says he remains as interested in keeping the NBA in New Orleans as he was when he first invested in the club.
Chouest attended Friday night's home game against Oklahoma City and says the reason he bought into in the Hornets "hasn't changed from Day 1." A Louisiana native whose company supplies vessels to the offshore energy industry, Chouest became a part owner when the Hornets returned to New Orleans from Oklahoma City in 2007. Last spring he neared a deal to take full control, but negotiations with majority owner George Shinn stalled, and Chouest won't comment on why.
In the NBA's move to take over the Hornets, Chouest will relinquish his minority ownership share to the league. This makes sense, because there would be all sorts of red tape if the NBA had tried to purchase only Shinn's share. More importantly, Commissioner David Stern and NBA will eventually be charged with selling the team, and they would rather have full control over that process than split control with a minority owner involved. Chouest, therefore, is free to either become part of a local investment group or get his money and financing together and proceed with a full ownership bid as was originally expected. But the NBA is not obligated in any way to commit to Chouest and they will certainly open up the sale process to all interested parties. Friday's news, then, boils down to a vaguely positive end to Chouest's recent silence, and nothing more. Chouest had been ripped in New Orleans media for not commenting about his failed bid to purchase the team, as it left so many unanswered questions, opening up the possibility of relocation. By saying now that he still supports the Hornets, New Orleans now has at least one wealthy investor in the picture. Unfortunately, it's the same investor they've always had, and he apparently doesn't have the financial wherewithal to manage full-time ownership and sustain the organization's heavy financial losses.  Of course, one interested local investor is better than no interested local investors. But there's a huge difference between supporting the Hornets in theory and committing to financially support the Hornets, and this week's news make it clear which side of that divide Chouest currently falls in.
Posted on: December 10, 2010 5:25 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2010 7:10 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Moving plans aplenty


Posted by Matt Moore


1. Okay, so New Orleans has a few buyers mulling around, the league is all set to take ownership of the team, KC and Louisville are getting their checkbooks out, and meanwhile the Hornets have gone down the drain a bit. If I'm a New Orleans fan on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being a Hindu cow and 5 being that Saved by the Bell chick when she got addicted to stimulants, how freaked out should I be?

Ken Berger, CBSSports.com: Well, about what? If it's the Hornets' recent struggles on the court, I'd go Hindu cow. If it's the team's long-term prospects in New Orleans, we better find you some tranquilizers. In the first game after the league purchase was announced, the Hornets grew barely more than 10,000 -- and that's paid attendance, which is easily manipulated. I can't imagine who'll show up for the Sacramento game Wednesday night. If the Hornets don't meet an attendance threshold by Jan. 31 -- and they're on pace to wildly miss the mark -- the team can opt out of its arena lease with the state. The Hornets being the deeply indebted, toxic asset they are, clearly this would enhance the potential value of the franchise in a sale because it would open the floor to more bidders and buyers. Nothing will happen this season, and I doubt any serious conversations will occur until after the lockout. But the future certainly looks grim.

2. You dropped word in the post-ups that the Nuggets are finally ready to deal Melo. Knowing the time crunch the Nugget are in with the deadline two and a half months away, is it possible teams could be applying pressure back on Denver in order to sweeten their deals?

KB: Certainly possible -- and maybe even a reason the Nuggets have quietly conveyed the impression to rival executives that they're inclined not to ride out the season with Melo if he refused to sign the extension before Feb. 24. This is the next, inevitable step in the process. In other words, step right up, folks. Bring your best offers. The landscape changes a bit Dec. 15 -- in five days -- when players who signed this past summer become trade-eligible. So far, sources say the Nuggets haven't received any offers that are better than the Nets' package centered around Derrick Favors and two first-round picks. Could that change? Any potential Melo suitors know the time is now to begin trying.

3. How much longer is the Andre Iguodala trade rumor Groundhog-Day-esque nightmare going to continue?

KB: As long as he has $56.5 million coming to him over the next four years, as long as there's one team possibly willing to absorb it, and as long as the Sixers are no better than a borderline eighth seed with him on the team.

4. You talked about the Knicks' resurgence in your quarterly report. What does New York have to do this season to take the next step, or have they hit their ceiling?

KB: Their run of 11 wins in 12 games is a little deceptive because of the competition they've faced, particularly in terms of defensive competition. But there's no doubting the potency of their offense -- and as you've pointed out, they're not benefiting from some ungodly 3-point shooting percentage that can't be sustained. They still need the same two things they needed and tried to get over the summer -- a rugged interior player to defend the basket and a dynamic wing. If they can get one of those between now and the deadline, they'll be on their way to a sure playoff berth -- maybe even a four or five seed. If they can't get Melo, they just have to make sure they don't jeopardize their future flexibility for sloppy seconds.

5. You wrote about how the Players Union's proposal has been completely ignored by the owners this week with so many non-starters. My question is this: Most of the Players' proposals only really hurt the top three to four teams in the league and would help all the little ones. Why are the smaller market teams not demanding the owners take a harder look at this proposal? Is it simply that damaging across the board or are they being bullied by the established big market teams?

KB: Let's start backwards: It certainly seems that the hard-liners are governing the owners' negotiating tactics, because there has been not a word of pushback from small-market owners to the league negotiators' treatment of the players' proposal -- which has been largely to ignore it. The owners -- at least the vast majority of them -- clearly view the players' plan as tweaks and Band-Aids where major reconstructive surgery is needed. When David Stern and Adam Silver have publicly stated on numerous occasions that they're aiming for massive changes to the sport's economic structure, no one is going to cross them publicly and give the players credit -- which they deserve -- for coming up with a handful of creative solutions.

Those solutions clearly don't go far enough in the eyes of Stern and his staunchest supporters. Plus, here's something else to chew on: The small-market owners, in particular, either believe or have been led to believe that they'll lose less money by shutting down the sport than they will by putting on another 82-game charade under the current system. In a way, Stern has gotten exactly what he wanted: By hitting the players over the head with a guillotine in the form of his draconian initial proposal, he boxed Billy Hunter into a corner. Hunter had no choice but to come back with an equally one-sided proposal, so as not to let the owners sense weakness. If a lockout is what the owners want, a lockout is what they are well on their way to achieving.

You can ask Ken a question for the Friday 5 with KB by emailing cbssportsnba@gmail.com or hitting us up on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA .
Posted on: December 10, 2010 12:50 pm
 

Chris Paul struggles with New Orleans situation

Hornets star says he can only control what he can control.
Posted by Matt Moore




Chris Paul is having kind of an emotional rollercoaster over the past six months. On the block, off the block, top of the standings, having his team sold to the NBA, might be sold to another city, might stay in New Orleans, might go to Cafe Du Monde, might go to that awesome place across from the House of the Rising Sun (seriously, it exists). But in the meantime, Paul is just trying to stay afloat. From the New Orleans Times-Picayune :

What is your reaction about the sale of the team and all that transpired this week? Paul: That’s craziness. I’ve learned in this league to control what I can control and all of that is how I perform on the court and how our team does. That (sale) hasn’t bothered us that much if you ask me. We have no decision on who the owner is and where we play. We’re just fortunate to get to go out and play.

Is it important for this franchise to become stable? Guys have families and you always want to know where you are going to be and stuff. But at the end of the day, we can control what we can control.
via Chris Paul addresses New Orleans Hornets ownership, attendance, lockout possibility | NOLA.com .

"We can control what we can control." It's similar to when your office is considering layoffs, only instead of losing his job, having his family's stability and career threatened, he may have to pay someone to move his stuff (that would likely be reimbursed by the team as well).

For Paul, it's going to be hard for him not to have one foot out at the moment, to make it clear that no matter how this winds up, he intends on coming out in a winning situation. There's a very real palpable fear for players of Paul's age group (which includes LeBron, Wade, and Dwight Howard) that they will wind up as Kevin Garnett. With a brilliant career wasted in mediocrity and left to fight injuries and fatigue in their thirties to establish their legacies. So while Paul says he's only focusing on what he can control, you can bet that he intends on making the rest of his career something he very much can.
Posted on: December 10, 2010 9:34 am
Edited on: December 10, 2010 11:50 am
 

Shootaround 12.10.10: Shaq calls Griffin fabulous

Shaq says Blake Griffin is "fabulous,' the Heat are working towards progress, and some in New Orleans want to save their Hornets.
Posted by Matt Moore

  • Shaquille O'Neal on Blake Griffin: "He's fabulous ." Take a second and let that quote sink in. Shaq just described the most explosive rookie to enter the NBA in years in much the same way Lady Gaga likely discusses her latest dress made out of asbestos or drywall or whatever. An odd choice of words for anyone else. Par for the Shaq course.
  • Zach Lowe of SI on a specific shape the Heat have begun to implement: "The Heat have started to position James, Bosh and Wade in a triangle on the same side of the floor. They don’t do it often, but they’re trying it and are getting good results so far. Perhaps the best example happened about four minutes into the first quarter Wednesday. As Carlos Arroyo brought the ball up the left side, the three Miami stars took up residency on the opposite side — Wade in the right corner, Bosh at the right elbow and James on the right wing beyond the three-point line. A nice little $340 million obtuse triangle."
  • Rob Mahoney breaks down the accepted definition of All-Star, then asks the question, what should make an All-Star ?
  • Very quietly, the Kings are awaiting an MRI on the foot of Tyreke Evans. The whispers involve a term that rhymes with "shress shractshure." As of now he only has plantar fasciitis, which was confirmed by a foot expert this week.
Posted on: December 9, 2010 10:28 pm
 

Report: Yahoo! co-founder doesn't want Hornets

Posted by Royce Young

Pretty much if you're wealthy and from New Orleans (or at least Louisiana), you're going to at least be asked about buying the Hornets. And that was the case with Yahoo! co-founder David Filo who happens to be wealthy and from the area.

But Yahoo! reported today that Filo isn't a candidate to buy the team. The original rumor came from a New Orleans television reporte r and evidently there's nothing to it. But that's according to a statement from a Yahoo! public relations person, so if we've learned anything from the NBA, a denial doesn't necessarily mean it's not true.

At the same time, unless there's a sentimental reason Gilo would want the team, it doesn't appear to be the best investment, at least from what we saw from the financial documents.

So far, that's the only major name that's surfaced from the New Orleans area. Every other candidate is an out of town buyer, something the NBA supposedly doesn't want to look at, because they want to keep the team in New Orleans. But the league also isn't going to eat $300 million, so basically if you want an NBA franchise and you've got around $300 million in your piggybank, you can have them.

Filo could have been looking at the option and backed off for now. Maybe he'll re-evaluate later. But right now, a prospective owner doesn't appear to be showing up any time soon. If that was the case, George Shinn would've held on to the team and sold it to someone else when Chouest stepped down.

There's a reason nobody wanted to buy. There's a reason the NBA had to step in. With other franchises you see four or five people putting in a bid to try and win over the right to buy the team. But with the Hornets, it's pretty much raise your hand at the auction and you'll hear sold.
Posted on: December 9, 2010 11:29 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:24 pm
 

Lawyer: billionaire wants NBA in Louisville

The city of Louisville is hoping to lure an NBA team to the city and claims to have a billionaire investor ready to make it happen. Posted by Ben Golliver.


About five weeks ago, we noted that the city of Louisville, Kentucky, was trying to throw its name into the NBA ring by starting a Facebook group in hopes of rallying fan support to bring a team to the city. This week, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports that the efforts may be a little more serious than first thought, as the city has spent $10,000s funding research into bringing a team to the city, and the attorney tasked with that research -- who is billing the city $125 an hour for "tasks "tasks such as 'Googling' and reading 'in-depth' team information, performing Lexis-Nexis searches and preparing to-do lists" -- claims an anonymous billionaire has thrown his support behind the effort.  Man, that was a fun sentence to type. The attorney, J. Bruce Miller, has reportedly contacted investors both in the United States and abroad, and claims to have landed a big fish.
“There’s only two ways to get this done: acquire an existing franchise or get an expansion franchise,” Miller said. “You don’t get either one if you don’t have a behemoth investor. What’s different this time is we have our own billionaire — who is among the richest people in the world.”
The paper also notes that the University of Louisville is open to sharing its huge brand new stadium, the KFC Yum! Center, with an NBA team, but that it reserves the right to set its schedule first. Louisville's effort, and the potential availability of an arena, adds fuel to the speculation surrounding the New Orleans Hornets, who agreed to be taken over by the NBA earlier this week, as the Hornets are the most obvious candidate for relocation. Until Louisville reveals who their major investor is, so that the sincerity of the city's effort can be judged, it's difficult to determine how realistic Louisville's effort to land the NBA is, given the presence of other interested destinations like Kansas City and Seattle.  This could be a shrewd lawyer's gravy-train pipe-dream taking a city for a ride, or it could be serious business. Only time will tell.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 10:23 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 10:46 pm
 

The NBA's NOLA dilemma: PR versus profit

As the NBA zeroes in on its acquisition of the Hornets, a moral versus business conundrum awaits the league and its owners over the future of basketball in New Orleans. 
Posted by Matt Moore



Let's start here: No one wants to move the New Orleans Hornets. You can't have watched footage of people dying in the Superdome and not have a soft spot in your heart for the Crescent City. The issue for the NBA as it takes ownership of the team is not one of what would make them and the rest of the world feel good. They know what that is. Find a local owner, keep the team in New Orleans, and everyone lives happily ever after. 

The question is whether that's a viable option and if they really feel that they're not just throwing money down a hole. The financial documents that came out Tuesday from Deadspin outlining the massive financial woes in New Orleans present a significant dilemma for the NBA and its owners as they try and determine the future of this franchise. There were questions about the viability of New Orleans as a market well before a hurricane overwhelmed the levies, and the questions extend not just to attendance and fan interest, but to market economics, sponsorship revenue, and the complete financial situation in New Orleans. This is all before we start to look at the relationship with the city's mayor and Louisiana's governor, both of whom have been very clear about one thing. They hope the NBA commits to keeping the Hornets in the city, but they will not be providing financial handouts in the form of tax breaks or anything else in order to make that happen. Not in this economy, not during the city's continued recovery, and not for a franchise that is a distant third in sports within the wards. (The other two being football and drinking.)

That's where things get tricky. If the NBA is pursuing its due diligence and trying to find the situation that yields the most promise financially within a decent time frame, it's difficult to see New Orleans as the answer to the riddle. Kansas City offers the building ready for attendance now, but has its own set of market questions. Anaheim offers the market and the building. Seattle offers the market and ownership. If David Stern is correct and this issue won't be resolved until after the CBA is resolved, that gives Seattle time to finance a new building as well as for Las Vegas to get approval for a new arena. Other cities waiting for the right situation might be in a better position by then to create an actual bidding war, which would only make it more difficult for the owners to select a bid from New Orleans. 

And yet, at the end of it, there are many positive signs towards New Orleans. Several owners are starting to make noise about being interested in offers. The goodwill of keeping the Hornets in New Orleans is something the league could use after ripping the Sonics away from Seattle under similar (though less emotional circumstances). Keeping the team local is the easy solution. But it also may be viewed as the impossible dream by owners. When the vote to move Seattle to OKC was made, only two owners voted against the measure, Paul Allen in the same area, and Mark Cuban, who questioned moving a big market team to a small market. Similar thoughts could be in play as the owners who voted for the most financially viable option follow suit and owners who question failing markets like New Orleans may not be moved enough to keep the team there. 

At the end of the day, the NBA seems very much in place to make a real "good faith" effort to keep the team in New Orleans. But the realities of the situation may force their hand in a direction no one wants to see. 
In unrelated news, the Hornets drew just a little over 10,000 for their game against the Pistons Wednesday night. 
Posted on: December 8, 2010 4:53 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:20 pm
 

Speculation mounts around Hornets future

All sorts of theories are flying about the future of the New Orleans Hornets. Posted by Ben Golliver chris-paul-monty-williams

Given the mess that is the New Orleans Hornets, you have to feel bad for three people: new GM Dell Demps, new coach Monty Williams and all star point guard Chris Paul. The three met over the summer and apparently hashed out a workable relationship, one which kept Paul happy in the short term and led to a strong start to the season, delivering a whole bunch of promise to start the season. Now, with the team's financial records being leaked and a sale to the NBA underway, their hard work and attempts to keep things in house and under wraps are getting blown up in a big time way. It's only been 48 hours since the NBA announced it would take over control of the team, and the speculation and rumors about possible relocation have kicked into full gear.   Here's a rundown, in no particular order. The Times-Picayune reports that Morris Bart, a New Orleans attorney is ready to become a minority partner and hoping for a 10% stake.
"I grew up in New Orleans and I went through the bitterness of the Jazz pulling out and leaving New Orleans,'' Bart said. "I would like to do my part to save the new generation of kids from having to go through that same experience. I'm living here and I think the team has to have local ownership. You've got to have a big fish that can come in and buy 50 percent and then the minority investors can follow along. I feel the NBA strongly wants to keep the team in New Orleans.''
Fletcher Mackel, a sports anchor for WDSU in New Orleans, tweets that he is "hearing rumors about David Filo buying Hornets. He's Co founder of Yahoo!, worth 2.9 billion." Filo has ties in the region, having been raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana and attending Tulane University. KMBZ radio in Missouri is reporting that Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser "says he's been involved in talks to bring the Hornets to Kansas City." Kansas City, of course, has an NBA-ready arena and has been short-listed by multiple media outlets as a possible relocation home for the Hornets. Finally, HoopsWorld.com writes that contracting the Hornets is an option that hasn't been discussed enough.
Commissioner David Stern has refused to rule out contraction as a possible option when the owners meet with the NBA Players' Association to hammer out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) this summer.
The first and perhaps hardest part of the process is finding an owner willing to sell their team to the NBA for eventual dissolution. With the acquisition of the Hornets, the league has already completed that step.
What to make of all of this? That there is local interest cropping up immediately in Louisiana is a good sign. Silence in the short term would have been deafening, and a death blow to hope for basketball fans in the Bayou. That people are interested in saving the team is a crucial first step. As for contraction, it seems like a very unlikely possibility in this situation, given the strong interest from other markets and reported interest from overseas owners regarding buying into the league. By purchasing the team from previous owner George Shinn, the NBA committed significant resources (reportedly $300 million) and will be looking for a return on that investment. It's difficult to see commissioner David Stern wanting to swallow that loss whole, especially if there is foreign demand for the right to enter the NBA.   Finally, we come full circle and return to our sympathies to those currently working for and playing for the Hornets. Single-minded focus is one of the highest virtues in professional basketball. Being able to tune everything out and carry out the task at hand is what separates winners from losers, above-average teams from average teams, and champions from the rest of the pack. What's being asked of the Hornets and their staff between now and whenever the team is sold -- remember, there is no set goal for that to happen, as Stern is preaching patience -- is a nearly impossible task. Focusing amidst such a storm is simply not a workable, functional reality.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com