The New Orleans Hornets could soon be sold to the NBA by current owner George Shinn. The NBA wants to purchase the Hornets in order to help save the franchise, but with it will come quite a few rumors about the future of the team.
Whether they will remain in New Orleans or not will depend on how willing a local ownership group is to step up in the near future. For now, though, it appears to be set in stone that Shinn is going to sell the Hornets to the NBA, and, after that takes place, the franchise could be at risk of being moved to a city that wants an NBA franchise badly.
According to Howard Beck of the NY Times, the NBA announced Monday that its plans to purchase the Hornets and keep them in New Orleans are moving forward. This is very similar to what Marc Stein reported on the situation, and does show that the NBA is not going to stop until they are the new ownership group for the current New Orleans Hornets.
While the intent is being broadcast that the Hornets will be kept in New Orleans, this is one of those things that could come down to the opinion of NBA Commissioner David Stern when it comes to the future of the franchise. He might want the team in New Orleans now, but his opinion could change at a moment’s notice.
There are certain problems that come along with owning the New Orleans Hornets, some of which Shinn has had to go through while owning the team. It’s a tough environment down in New Orleans to ask people to buy expensive tickets to NBA games, and it has led to some low ticket sales, with around 80 percent of seats being sold this season. That is an average of just 13,800 or so fans showing up to each game, something that other cities will claim they can do better than in an effort to woo the team to move. Another one of the problems facing the Hornets is that star point guard Chris Paul will be a free agent at the end of the season, and could sign with someone else.
There are quite a few cities out there that would love to get their hands on a pro basketball team, including former NBA cities Kansas City and Seattle. There are thoughts that Seattle would try to get the team to move back up there, but there was also a rumor posted today about moving the Hornets up to Chicago.
That seems like a far-fetched rumor, but Chicago has done really well at supporting to Major League Baseball teams, so why not two NBA franchises? It looks like a done deal that the Hornets will soon be owned by the NBA, but the future of this franchise is much more up in the air than the league is letting on right now.