NBA Takes Over Hornets
Well, the NBA has announced that they will move forward with its plans of taking over the New Orleans Hornets, purchasing the team from George Shinn, and adopting a Montreal Expos' style of ownership. The deal has been reached Monday, and could close as early as Wednesday.
The main question now is: What does this mean for the team in the future?
Through 10 home games this season, attendance at the New Orleans Arena is at 13,865, the team has the right to break the lease with the state of Louisiana if the number does not meet 14,735 in a two-year period. Otherwise the lease is current through the year 2014.
Shinn founded the Hornets in his home state of North Carolina in 1985, and the team began play in 1988. At one point the Hornets sold out 358 consecutive home games at the Charlotte Coliseum, equivalent to nine seasons. After a sexual assault trial in 1999, Shinn fell out of favor with the fans in Charlotte, who refused to support the team unless a new owner was in place. Subsequently the team moved to New Orleans in 2002. After initial success, the team relocated to Oklahoma City for two seasons due to Hurricane Katrina. The team returned to New Orleans with the best season in franchise history at 56-26 in 2007-08. After having their record high of season ticket sales and high expectations in 2008-09, the team went 49-33 before injuries derailed their 2009-10 season with a 37-45 record.
Already there are three front-runners for relocation if the Hornets decide to relocate. The contenders are: Seattle, Kansas City, and Anaheim. Let's break down the situations for these three cities and why they would be ideal (or not) for relocation.
Seattle: The Sonics have a great, passionate fan base, and many fans feel the NBA have not been the same since the team relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008. The team would most likely be renamed the SuperSonics, as the owners of the Thunder have left the name in Seattle. The Hornets' success in Oklahoma City was the reason for the Thunder arriving, and it would be full circle to have these two franchises connected forever. However, Seattle will not get an NBA team without a new arena, so unless that situation gets resolved, and if a new owner is willing to lose money for two-three seasons in Seattle while the arena is being built.Continued on the next page