Tag:New Orleans Hornets
Posted on: December 8, 2010 12:43 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 1:03 pm
 

3-Up, 3-Down: Falling all over

Three rising and three falling teams this week as the Rockets are getting it together and the Hornets are falling apart.  Posted by Matt Moore




3-Up, 3-Down for this week in our Power Rankings :

3-Up

Boston Celtics (3): The Celtics are doing all of this without Rajon Rondo at 100% . That's insane. They're simply crushing opponents. Their ability to coast through games and still win while getting up for big games is considerable.  Against the Bulls, the Celtics just went out and obliterated a tough team inside by going over them. Particularly, Kevin Garnett is assassinating people all over the floor. Last season he was limited largely to the pick and pop 18 footer. This season he's got the drop step-hook, the face-up baseline jumper, and a few driving dunks in his bag. That makes such a huge difference for this team.

Miami Heat (4): Six spot jump for the Heat who may  have hit the low point and started to climb back up. It's not just that they've been beating inferior competition, it's that they've been pounding them. Furthermore, Wade and James seem to be getting on the same page, while Mike Miller inches closer and closer to returning. Some big games come up for this team in the next week with Utah and New Orleans on the docket for a chance at redemption for the Heat. They need these wins not only to keep their momentum going, but to prove that they're able to beat, you know, good teams. 

Houston Rockets (17): Slowly but surely the Rockets continue to climb their way out of the bizarre hole they built for themselves. They've gone from the worst defense in the league to the 8th worst defense in the league. Progress! The most bizarre thing is that their performance is largely independent of opponent. They lost to good teams and bad, and they've beaten good teams (LA) and bad (Memphis) in the past week. Still in a hole, but starting to climb out. 

3-Down

Los Angeles Lakers (9): A four-spot drop for the Lakeshow this week after a four-game losing streak stretched from last week to this one. But a win over the dreadful Kings and a post-rankings win over the Wizards are just what the Yellow and Purple needed to get things going again. This team is tired, largely because of a lack of depth. Andrew Bynum may be back in a week, which would also help. Of course, me getting a pot of gold from a rainbow would help too, and both have about the same chance of happening, given Bynum's injury recovery history.

New Orleans Hornets (10):
If everything went right for the Hornets in the first eight games, everything has gone wrong in the last 8. David West isn't dominating but getting the ball a ton, Chris Paul is too passive, the defense has fallen off, and Jarrett Jack was not a magical improvement, but instead has been a curse so far. With all the off-court turmoil, this team needs a reassuring run to staunch the bleeding.

Oklahoma City Thunder (12):
Yeah, we don't get it either. The team has simply been inconsistent. Time to bring it up. Coach of the Year curse?

Check out the rest of the Power Rankings here .
Posted on: December 8, 2010 9:51 am
 

Shootaround: 12.8.10: The NBA's most underpaid

Posted by Royce Young
  • Forbes released its list of the NBA's most underpaid players. And LeBron is on top: "Yes, at $15.8 million, LeBron was the NBA's most underpaid player in 2009-'10. At almost 30 points and nine assists per game, 50.5% shooting and 39 minutes a night on the floor, James produced more wins for his club (27.2) than any player in the league. All while earning less than Zach Randolph and Pau Gasol, and about the same as slightly lesser stars Dwight Howard and James' new Miami runningmate, Dwayne Wade."
  • Ian Thompson of SI with great stuff on the Hornets situation: "Unless fans swarm to the New Orleans Arena in order to keep their franchise at home for the shortterm, the new owner of the Hornets will place New Orleans in a pool among larger available markets, including Chicago, Anaheim, San Jose and Kansas City. There hasn't been a lot of talk elsewhere about Chicago, but it is the third biggest market in North America and it has only one NBA team. New York will have two franchises when the Nets move to Brooklyn in two years, and Los Angeles has two. In suburban Chicago near O'Hare Airport, the Allstate Arena could serve as a temporary NBA home until a new arena could be built, depending on the resources of the new owner."
  • Everyone's favrorite crazy owner, Michael Heisley, doesn't get what's wrong with his Grizzlies: "I don't know what's happening. We're having a difficult time and I don't know what the reason for it is. I started the season with high hopes for the team. It's not living up to what I'd hope. I don't know what else to say. I've racked my brain trying to figure it out."
  • Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune: "When the NBA stepped in to purchase the New Orleans Hornets on Monday, the league was faced with the situation of an owner who was heavily in debt and borrowing to pay the team’s on-going operations, according to an audit of the franchise’s finances posted on the website Deadspin.com Tuesday evening. While the team actually made an operating profit in 2009, the problem for owner George Shinn was the team’s long-term debt. At the end of 2009 - the second of the two years which the audit covers - the Hornets’ long-term debt was $111 million. And they had to pay $8.9 million in interest on it. That wiped out an operating profit of $5.8 million."
  • Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times: "We won't forgive Stern for what he did. But there is no satisfaction in continuing to hate him. It's time to forget. Who knows if Steve Ballmer wants to own an NBA team? Or if he can put together the same well-intentioned would-be-saviors who introduced a viable 11th-hour plan to keep the Sonics before they left for Oklahoma City? Ballmer could be a hero for Seattle. He could add a touch of class for a league that could use a little. The New Orleans Hornets are for sale. Is Ballmer in a buying mood?"
Posted on: December 7, 2010 5:25 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:19 pm
 

New Orleans Hornets were bleeding money

The New Orleans Hornets' audited financial records have leaked online, and they paint a horrific financial picture of the franchise's ownership group. Posted by Ben Golliver Audited financial documents concerning the New Orleans Hornets have been published by Deadspin.com, and the numbers are not pretty. Earlier this week, commissioner David Stern and the NBA stepped in to purchase the Hornets after a long-anticipated sale to Gary Chouest fell through. As Ken Berger of CBSSports.com noted yesterday, the move may wind up being a death blow to basketball in New Orleans, because the Hornets were such a money pit and because deep-pocketed owners would be more likely to find a sustainable business model in a different market, as happened when the Seattle SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City. The documents published by Deadspin, an audit conducted by KPMG, only reinforce these grim predictions. They show that, despite turning a profit from June 2008 to June 2009, the ownership group led by George Shinn was up to its eyeballs in deficits. This sheet, for example, shows the ownership's total deficit on June 30, 2009, topping out at more than $83 million. Deadspin also notes...
The team's net cash in operating activities, which represents the "measurement of money [owner George Shinn] is being asked to take out of his pocket to keep operations going," according to sports economist Andrew Zimbalist. In 2008, that amount was $7.4 million; in 2009, $1.4 million (slide 12). Zimbalist points out that "things got much more problematic for the franchise" the following year.

The two obvious questions that arise after reading this document are... 

1) Did George Shinn just fleece the NBA by selling this franchise for, reportedly, up to $300 million? 

2) Can any prospective buyers in Louisiana reasonably be expected to do so much better than Shinn that these huge deficits could be avoided?

To the first question, the league has a vested interest in propping up its franchise sale prices, keeping the buy-in price high to ensure maximum milking from the overseas billionaires who represent the league's future owners. The Hornets might not be worth $300 million, especially after reading these documents and after all star point guard Chris Paul inevitably skips down, but the right to own one of only 30 NBA teams surely hovers around that price. Contingent, of course, on being able to relocate.

To the second question, these numbers paint a pretty grim reality, one that was always assumed, and probably known by those who needed to know or who were interested in purchasing the team. For the general public, however, it casts a cold cloud over the city's chances to enjoy NBA basketball indefinitely into the future.

The only hope for basketball in New Orleans now is for an ownership group to arise that is not only happy to keep basketball in New Orleans out of the goodness of its heart, but is willing to do so while sustaining heavy losses while playing in front of hit-or-miss fan support. Good luck with that. 

This team is as good as gone.

Posted on: December 7, 2010 12:09 pm
 

Report: League looking at Kansas City for Hornets

Posted by Royce Young

If, and that's a big if, the Hornets don't stay in New Orleans, a number of cities will be lining up to grab them. And a report from FanHouse says the league is strongly looking at moving the team to Kansas City and the newly built Sprint Center.

Matt Moore laid out a number of possibilities that included Seattle, Anaheim, Chicago and Kansas City. What's the drawback to KC? Here's what Matt said:
That said, the jewel in their crown is pretty simple. It's the building. Sprint Center, built in 2005 and opened in 2007, has a capacity of 18,555 with a considerably higher number of available luxury suites and club seating due to how the building was constructed. Specifically, the arena was built to capitalize on how current arena economics work. Tickets are valuable, to be sure, but the money is made with sponsorships, and luxury seating. 

What's missing? A buyer. AEG who owns the Sprint Center, made noise early on about pursuing either a hockey or basketball team to fill the arena. But with the Pittsburgh Penguins using them as a straw man to get a new arena in Pittsburgh, there has been no team to arrive. Furthermore, it turns out the arena is making more money as a concert venue than it may with a regular tenant. With the recession having hit Kansas City well before the rest of the country and a lack of progressive technology firms in the area, finding a prospective owner outside of AEG is going to be a hard sell. Kansas City remains a viable candidate but it remains to be seen if either AEG or the city will commit to making a serious inquiry toward the Hornets. 
Other than the sentimental reasons to bring a team back to Seattle, Kansas City has to be the leader in the clubhouse. New building, big corporate city with a number of sponsorship opportunities and the potential for a great, dedicated fanbase. Like Matt pointed out, it all comes down to a buyer that wants to bring a team there.

The concern over it being a college town is a good one, but the same was said for Oklahoma City and I think we've all seen how that went over. Competing with the Jayhawks and the Missouri Tigers wouldn't be easy for a professional franchise, but in a market like Kansas City, there's always room for more basketball.

But it's not about those reasons. It's about the building. Kansas City has what the league likes and what a prospective owner loves: a brand new arena that can make money. If Seattle had something new, no doubt in my mind it would be the frontrunner. But the NBA is about money and by all appearances, Kansas City would have the best shot at making the most right now.
Posted on: December 7, 2010 10:50 am
 

Louisiana governor on helping the Hornets

Posted by Royce Young

The situation doesn't look great for the future of professional basketball in New Orleans. With the league taking over ownership, most see it as clock has been placed on the Hornets' time remaining there.

The main issue with the franchise has become the financial situation and structure in a city that may not be able to fully support an NBA team. The Hornets play in a state-owned arena and David Stern has already said that the league will be working closely with the governor's office on the team's future.

And while Gov. Bobby Jindal sounded willing to do his part to keep the team there, it's pretty clear the Hornets shouldn't be expecting any money help. From WWL Radio in Louisiana:

“We’ve been working not only with the current management but now the league on creative ways for the state to support keeping the Hornets here,” said Jindal. But Jindal said those efforts have to have limits.

“We’ve made it clear that they understand the state is facing significant financial pressures,” the governor said. “We’re not going to do anything that jeopardizes funding for higher education or health care.”

Basketball... or health care? Hmm, I wonder what wins out. Jindal is obviously saying the right things here, but the message is clear: You're not getting free money from the state just to keep a financially unstable team here. If the Hornets were making lots and lots of cash, maybe so. But as of now, the team is becoming somewhat of a burden on the state. And with economic uncertainty weighing over New Orleans more than most cities, Jindal likely isn't psyched to have to deal with this.

But more than likely, if the team is to remain in New Orleans, it'll need some help from the state. And with the way the league has tried to keep the team there after Hurricane Katrina, there will likely be some pressure on Jindal to do his part.
Category: NBA
Posted on: December 7, 2010 9:56 am
Edited on: December 7, 2010 10:07 am
 

Shootaround 12.7.10: Where Stern went wrong

Posted by Royce Young
  • Darren Rovell of CNBC on why the NBA messed up purchasing the Hornets: "The last point is the public relations disaster that this could create. If George Shinn and Gary Chouest couldn’t make it in New Orleans, fine. They’d say that and leave. Now it’s the NBA’s business to put this team in the best position it can and if they leave New Orleans it will be the league’s fault, not Shinn or Chouest’s fault, that they left."
  • An editorial from The Times-Picayune: "Mr. Stern and the league played an important role in the Hornets' return to New Orleans post-Katrina. The league also brought the NBA All-Star game to New Orleans in 2008, and metro residents are thankful for that support. The league is appointing Jac Sperling, a native New Orleanian and vice-chairman of the NHL's Minnesota Wild, to run the Hornets. But the new ownership raises questions as to the team's future, especially as the current lease expires in 2014.
  • Magic Johnson should buy the Hornets?
  • At The Hive on why the Hornets aren't the Expos: "The Hornets, however, are a viable, competitive, and valuable franchise. Their only problem is that George Shinn wanted out of the organization quickly, and that wasn't able to be done quickly enough for his desire and still keep the franchise in New Orleans. It's not a team, like the Expos, that were deemed to be of negative value to the league."
  • Noam Schiller of Both Teams Played Hard on MIP candidates: "Russell Westbrook: And who stands above Horford for 2nd in the league in PER? I’ll give you a hint: he plays for the Thunder and he isn’t Kevin Durant. Westbrook has taken his scoring to the next level by using his speed and athleticism to constantly get to the rim, where he either converts his shots at a career high 55.2%, or draw fouls. Russ is getting to the line 9.6 times a night (good for 4th in the league) and making his freebies at a career high 87% clip, combining with last year’s prominent leap-maker Kevin Durant to create the league’s most deadly foul drawing team. If he doesn’t make the all-star team this year, something is wrong with the universe."
Posted on: December 6, 2010 4:29 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 4:45 pm
 

The NBA officially has purchased the Hornets

Posted by Royce Young

It's official: The NBA now owns the New Orleans Hornets.

NBA Commissioner David Stern announced Monday that the NBA is proceeding with the purchase of the New Orleans Hornets, following Gary Chouest’s decision not to proceed with the acquisition of the interest of majority owner George Shinn.  The transaction is subject to a vote by the NBA’s Board of Governors, which will likely occur next week.

Stern, in a press release said, “George Shinn has been an exceptional owner for New Orleans and Gary Chouest has been extraordinarily supportive as a minority owner. However, in light of the uncertain economic situation in New Orleans and Louisiana, Gary has decided not to move forward with the purchase of George’s majority interest although he was prepared to remain an investor in the team. In the absence of any viable purchaser seeking to own the Hornets in New Orleans, I recommended to the NBA Board of Governors that the best way to assure stability and the adequate funding of the franchise would be for the league to step in, and complete the transaction and assume control."

The franchise was valued at around $300 million and that's the ballpark in which the league paid, according to Stern in a teleconference.

The league has been dedicated to the franchise since Hurricane Katrina. Following a two-year stint in Oklahoma City, many thought it would be best for the franchise to remain there because of the issues in New Orleans. Instead, the NBA and Stern committed themselves to keeping the team in New Orleans, despite there being buyers ready to purchase the team from Shinn (current Thunder owner Clay Bennett being one).

Obviously the league doesn't want to control the Hornets for long, so as soon as a suitable purchaser steps up, the team will likely be sold. Whether that's someone from out of town or someone that wants to try and keep the Hornets in New Orleans is to be seen. But no franchise is more of a prime candidate to be moved than the Hornets right now because of a clause in their lease agreement that lets them out if attendance figures aren't met. And right now, those numbers are way off.

According to Shinn, “When we were unable to complete the transaction with Gary, I suggested to the Commissioner that the league consider the purchase of the Hornets.  I wanted to ensure that the team remained in New Orleans, if that was possible, and recognized that the league could provide the necessary funding while a new owner was sought in New Orleans and negotiations with the city and the state could continue.”

Chouest said, “New Orleans owes a debt of gratitude to George for bringing NBA basketball back to the city. I have greatly enjoyed the experience with the Hornets and, of course, will continue to support the team.”

The league has recruited Jac Sperling, a sports executive and New Orleans native, to be the team’s chairman and governor, with Hugh Weber serving as president and alternate governor. Sperling – who founded Grit Rock Ventures, LLC, an investment company focused on sports, media and entertainment business, and is Vice Chairman of Minnesota Sports and Entertainment (MSE), the parent company of the National Hockey League’s Minnesota Wild – will bring his more than 20 years of sports-industry experience to the operation of the Hornets.

Despite the spin from the statements, this is a serious situation for professional basketball in New Orleans. The team may be winning, but the franchise is losing, in a big way.
Category: NBA
Posted on: December 6, 2010 1:21 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 1:50 pm
 

The Hornets' potential relocation future examined

Should the Hornets not remain in New Orleans, where might they end up? We look at the options.  Posted by Matt Moore


With the NBA expected to take hold of the New Orleans Hornets without a locked on buyer in place, the next question will come immediately. What if a non-NOLA buyer comes through with the best offer? It's the money of the league and the owners that's being invested in removing George Shinn once and for all from the ranks of NBA ownership (see ya, George, don't let the luxury tax hit you on the way out), and the league will have a responsibility to both pursue and accept the best offer available. Should that offer come from someone outside the greater New Orleans area, it's entirely possible that the Hornets could be playing somewhere else in the near future. 

We've been down this road before. And while New Orleans lacks the great and storied history of the Sonics franchise, no one wants to see a city that fought back from the greatest natural disaster to hit a major metropolitan area in United States history lose its team. But this isn't about PR or kids with jerseys or history or anything else. It's about money. And other cities not only have incentive to bring in the team, but the most important assets to convince the NBA to abandon New Orleans: the buildings. 

New Orleans arena was built in 1999 for $114 million. It has a capacity of 18,000, 44 luxury suites, and has been described as "bland." It does not receive rave reviews from sponsors, guests, or media. The other cities in play have both newer arenas, as well as arenas fit more ably for modern NBA economics (luxury suites), etc. Others who do not have such arenas have the awesome draw of the almighty large market. 

So who are the prospective scavengers who might be circling while the Hornets continue to fill ... well, kind of fill New Orleans Arena? Here are the names being floated. (All arena information courtesy of Ballparks.com )

Kansas City: Kansas City once had an NBA team, the Kansas City Kings, now the Sacramento Kings, formerly the Cincinnati Kings, formerly the Rochester Royals, and briefly the Kansas City-Omaha Kings. But the team was terrible, management was terrible, and soon the team was off to Sacramento and the welcome bosom of cowbells. Kansas City is most often criticized as being a "college town," "a baseball town," "a football town" (what isn't?) and unable to support three major pro teams. The last of these criticisms ring most true as both the Royals and Chiefs struggle to fill their stadiums to reasonable capacities during down years (or as we Kansas Citizens like to call them, "the last ten years."

The "college town" aspect is a double-edged sword. While it's true that nearby KU and two-hour-neighbor MU hold the town's attention during basketball season, many of their players wind up in the pros. And at its heart, it's easy to argue that KC is a basketball town. It held the Big 12 tournament for years and the Big 8 before that. (And by "before that" I mean "before Texas used its influence to rob any other school in the Big 12 of any influence"). When the Heat and Thunder played a preseason game this fall, a packed house was in place. Then again, that's the Heat. Some towns simply aren't built for the pro game, and that's the argument of some in regards to KC. 

That said, the jewel in their crown is pretty simple. It's the building. Sprint Center, built in 2005 and opened in 2007, has a capacity of 18,555 with a considerably higher number of available luxury suites and club seating due to how the building was constructed. Specifically, the arena was built to capitalize on how current arena economics work. Tickets are valuable, to be sure, but the money is made with sponsorships, and luxury seating. 

What's missing? A buyer. AEG who owns the Sprint Center, made noise early on about pursuing either a hockey or basketball team to fill the arena. But with the Pittsburgh Penguins using them as a straw man to get a new arena in Pittsburgh, there has been no team to arrive. Furthermore, it turns out the arena is making more money as a concert venue than it may with a regular tenant. With the recession having hit Kansas City well before the rest of the country and a lack of progressive technology firms in the area, finding a prospective owner outside of AEG is going to be a hard sell. Kansas City remains a viable candidate but it remains to be seen if either AEG or the city will commit to making a serious inquiry toward the Hornets. 

St. Louis: Two Show-Me cities with an interest in basketball. Many of the same concerns with Kansas City pop up with St. Louis, only their baseball team pretty much guarantees a significant dropoff of attendance right when the playoffs would start. St. Louis has the population, and has the building (the Scottrade Center where the Blues play). 

The talks of St. Louis have never been as discussed as some of the other cities on this list, but with the Hornets being in such a unique position, it's possible a group could develop to push for a new team under the arch. 

Anaheim: Ah, California. Fun, sun, beaches, and lots and lots of sports teams. With the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers turning such a huge profit (despite the Clippers being, well, the Clippers) it's no wonder the NBA would be interested in another California team. Anaheim's done well with the Angels and Ducks, and though the market would no doubt be over-saturated should the Hornets relocate to the nearby neighbor of the City of Angels, the high cost of living would bring ticket prices to a point where profit is a near-given. 

As for the arena? They've already got one in place. The Honda Center, home of the Anaheim Ducks, has a capacity of 17,174, with 84 luxury seats and 1,716 club seats. That's a lot of dough in a place ripe with firms looking to purchase such tickets for clients and as perks. It would make the fifth California team along with the Kings (should the Kings stick around in Sacramento) and Warriors, and the area has been invested in looking for a team for a few years. 

In truth, Anaheim is a low-risk move, but could also backfire if the city simply can't sustain three franchises, regardless of its proximity to LA. Additionally, it's unknown if Jerry Buss, who runs the league about as much as anyone who isn't David Stern, would be amiable to another competitor near his market. He brought in Donald Sterling to own and move the San Diego Clippers, but an outsider honing in on his territory may not go over well, despite the massive, all-encompassing popularity and profitability of the Lakers. 

Las Vegas : Long story short, there's no arena, but they're willing to build one if a team is relocated. It's a PR disaster for the league, but a financial windfall for the owners. While the fanbase is sure to be fickle, every high priced mogul and entertainer would have seats, and good ones, for a high price. Sponsorships would be easier to sell than lemonade in hell, and attracting free agents would be a snap. Nice weather, fun city, profitability, and the draw of having the city all to itself in professional sports? What's stopping them?

They still don't have the building. 

There's a group in place pushing for it who even said they had a team lined up . And petitions are being gathered in order to get a vote before the state legislature, but no word has come if they have received enough. The situation remains in flux. 

Seattle: As tempted as I am to scream "Back of the line!" considering Seattle voters had multiple chances to pressure their representatives to save the Sonics and chose to make their stand against corporate greed in the form of publicly funded arenas for privately held teams, it's hard to argue with the fact that Seattle got outright screwed in the Clay Bennett relocation of the Sonics to Oklahoma City as the Thunder. The fanbase is passionate, it's a large market, renewing basketball there would be seen as a good PR move that could dampen the outrage of taking a team away from the city that survived Katrina, and all that merchandise has already been manufactured with the Sonics logo.

The problem?

You guessed it. They still  don't have the building. Key Arena simply isn't up to snuff, built in 1962. But with a capacity of 17,072, it does hold 58 suites and 1,702 club seats. It can make money, but not nearly in the way some of the other newer arenas can, and renovation costs would be high (hence Bennett's ability to squeeze out). Seattle fans have been clamoring for public officials to finance a new stadium, knowing the presence of an open building would bring a team back like moths to a flame. No dice, so far. 

The biggest thing Seattle has going for it? Rich people. With Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer vocal about the possibility of reacquiring a team, and with enough tech money in the area to finance a new arena in part, Seattle simply has the dough. While Seattle gets off more than it should for its complicity in the relocation of the Sonics, the fans were screwed, and this would go a long way with repairing national damage to the NBA's image in that event. Because moving New Orleans is fine, but Seattle really needs a team, apparently. 

Chicago : This one was brought up by Sports Illustrated  this week and it's an interesting question. Could Chicago support a sixth sports team, and a second basketball team? The Bulls undoubtedly would always be the favorite, the Yankees to the other team's Mets, as it were, but the market is indeed large enough to support a second team. Chicago has some of the best sports fans in the country, and attendance is almost always at stable league measures across sports. There are certainly enough investors to drum up an ownership group if someone was interested in a majority share, and sponsorships wouldn't be an issue, either. 

But what about the building? It already exists. 

The Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Los Angeles Kings all occupy the Staples Center. While Staples is newer than Chicago's United Center which currently hosts the Bulls and defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, the United Center is bigger, and you can make the dates work. The question would be if it would make financial sense for the United Center to give up the free nights for eight months of the year (geez the NBA season is long) in exchange for the tenant, and whether logistics costs would skyrocket too much with having to handle the demands of three teams. 

A second Chicago team would satisfy the NBA owners contingent's interest in a stable, big-market location. An at least temporary arena is in place should the team's owners decide they want their own digs in another part of town, and it's hard to see there being no interest in the club given how rabid Chicago sports fans are.  But that's a whole lot of teams in one market, and even New York has not had more than the Knicks in several decades (though they're due for a new neighbor in 2012). It would simultaneously be the easy way out and a bold move for the league to approve and push for a second team in the Windy City. 

New Orleans : If Gary Chouest is out, a new owner in New Orleans is going to have to come out of left field. The fact that the franchise now looks like a garage sale isn't probably going to bring owners out, at least not the ones the NBA would want. But hey, there's a blog of fans looking for investors to make the $17,000 investment so that the city could own the team. Imagine a blog running an NBA team. We're pretty sure that's about three steps from the apocalypse. 

All kidding aside, the NBA is right to pursue local ownership. We saw with Seattle how traumatic losing a team can be. And while Hornets fans certainly don't have the history or passion of those Sonics fans in number, there's no reason they don't have that quality of investment. Kids still love going to Hornets games with their families, and guys still go Hornets games and yell about Emeka Okafor after the game like any city. The right thing to do would be to keep the Hornets in New Orleans. 

The problem is that these days, the right thing to do is almost never the right business decision to make. 

We'll keep you updated as the Hornets' ownership situation develops.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com