The Kansas City Hornets could be one of the NBA’s 30 teams in just a few years. Kansas City is a favorite to take the New Orleans Hornets if the NBA can’t find a way to successfully keep the Hornets down in the south. The NBA is finishing up the process of buying the Hornets from current owner George Shinn, and that could give them the opportunity to move the franchise anywhere they want.
With attendance problems in New Orleans, an arena that has seen better days, and new ownership stepping into place, the days could be numbered for the current incarnation of the New Orleans Hornets. If the sale of the team to the NBA goes through, there will be no requirement for them to keep the team in New Orleans. What we could soon see is a demand from the NBA that New Orleans builds a new stadium or a request that a local ownership group steps up to purchase the team from the league.
With new owners come the rumors of new locations where the team could move, and there is one particular city that has become the front runner in the whole thing. Kansas City has become the rumor “leader” as they have a nice arena already in The Sprint Center, which was just built back in 2007. That could be a great NBA arena, and would definitely be a selling point to any NBA franchise looking for a relocation possibility. The other cities mentioned as possible destinations include Seattle and Las Vegas, but both areas would probably need to build new arenas to bring the Hornets their way.
Pardon the Interruption co-host Michael Wilbon stated on the Dec. 7 show that he thinks Seattle should get the Hornets, as they already have an established fan base that could support the team well. Seattle is also still a major market, even though Clay Bennett decided to buy the Sonics, all with the intent on moving them to Oklahoma City. Seattle fans aren’t keen on stealing a franchise from another city though, and many have stated that they would rather just have the NBA give them a new franchise rather than have another team move there.
It’s hard to predict how this is all going to play out, especially with the NBA taking ownership of the Hornets franchise. It would be a public relations nightmare to strip New Orleans of their franchise, but the area has had a hard time supporting the team. There are die-hard fans down there, but it is hard to imagine that there will be quite as many if free agent Chris Paul decides to jump ship at the end of the current NBA season.
Can Kansas City support a new NBA franchise? They have had one before, and that didn’t turn out too well in the end either.