So where should the New Orleans Hornets go??
I know where George Shinn should go. But that’s been said before by me.
Here is the list of 6 suitors:
#6-SAN DIEGO: Honestly, this doesn’t make much logistical sense to me. The NBA isn’t going to screw with the schedule, so the likelihood of the Hornets in SD is slim. Take the Celtics December schedule. They go to New York....then to Houston...then to New Orleans...before heading off to San Antonio and Dallas. Now, the NBA really won’t like for the C’s to take off all the way out to San Diego from Houston...then back to Texas for the Spurs and Mavs. And, to top it all off, the team would play in the ancient I-Pay-One Arena [formerly the SD Sports Arena] that first opened in 1966. ODDS: Slim to none
#5-NASHVILLE. Nashville is becoming quite the sports town and NBA Action would diversify it even more. The problem is that Nashville wasn’t built on sports...and the name of the arena is the Gaylord Entertainment Arena. The team houses the NHL’s Predators, plus an array of concerts. Word is that the best Nashville can offer is 12 home dates....29 less than a normal NBA arena. With the Titans and Preds projected to have down seasons...no point in adding the horrible Hornets into the apathy. Add to the fact that the Memphis Grizzlies are already trying to build Tennessee roots. ODDS: They may finagle those 12 games...but probably will be left in the cold.
#4-LOUISVILLE. I laugh when I see this. No offense to Louisville...but they were strong contenders to land the Hornets when Shinn was shopping them in 2001-2002. Their pitch was to hook the team up to the KFC franchise....even naming the new arena "The Bucket". Louisville is a pretty viable spot for the Hornets in the short term, however. They have an arena that can house them [Freedom Hall] and play in an area that would rally around a NBA franchise. The problem is that Louisville would, by far, be the smallest NBA city and the Hornets would be in direct competition with the Cardinals. And, hey, the Cards would beat them in that competition [and maybe one ON the court as well]. ODDS: I can see a few games at Freedom Hall if the NBA allows the Hornets to have several home courts. Other than that...doubtful.
#3-BATON ROUGE. Playing in Baton Rouge would solve two problems. One, it would keep the franchise relatively close to their New Orleans home and perhaps be both a diversion and a fund raiser for the people of the state. It also allows the Hornets to move back into the NO Arena if it gets functional again. Two, it eliminates the sliminess of another city babysitting the Hornets with a possible eye on keeping them even when the city of New Orleans gets back to shape. They’d have to share the arena with LSU Tigers...but it could work. ODDS: They have the home court advantage, albeit a small one. The main problem is if Baton Rouge continues to be the center for evacuees...then they already have a logistical problem.
#2-KANSAS CITY. KC was home to the Kings before they bolted to Sacramento. The City would be a nice place to house the Hornets...as they have an arena and NBA influence in the town. Lakers and Sixers ownership are big in the city. They also have an out. When Kemper Arenais booked for Hornets’ scheduled dates, they can move over to the smaller Municipal Arena instead. ODDS: Very strong. The Hornets were already struggling in New Orleans and Kansas City knew that. Construction on the new Sprint Center will be complete in 2007...and they were already eying at stealing the Hornets away. With New Orleans in financial straits...most of the economic packages the city promised to Shinn when he left Charlotte will most likely be taken away. The team may have their eyes on Kansas City as well.
#1-OKLAHOMA CITY. Oklahoma City has the one thing that none of the other sites can offer - full reign of their facilities. Oklahoma City has an NBA caliber arena and nothing plugging up game dates. So, the Hornets could pretty much just slide into Oklahoma City and pick up where they left off. The NBA would most likely approve this move as it would like the attendance possibilities as well as the lack of a long-term threat from stealing the franchise away [though Stern may be forced to find another home anyway]. They’d also like the fact that the team would have just one site to call home...instead of several with the other options. The site also protects the integrity of the schedule so that visitors road trips wouldn’t be changed too much. ODDS: My favorite to land the Hornets.