ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons had an interview with the commissioner David Stern on a number of issues relating to the NBA. Most of his questions surrounded the NBA’s ownership of the New Orleans Hornets and what the leagues intent is to the franchises long term future. The very notion that the Hornets were the lead in his interview is highly surprising considering there’s an NBA lock-out just around the corner (he discussed briefly), the fact that players (stars) are garnering more leverage in contract negotiations and the league’s stance on it’s European competitors. Simmons is an entertaining writer and commentator he always gives us something to laugh at. But you can’t help but feel like he along with the rest of Boston and L.A. are out to get the team. For a while now reporters on ESPN have been heavily anticipating the move out of New Orleans as “their next big story.” In fact they’ve been pushing for it heavily. They don’t seem to understand that not every NBA team has douch-bag’s for fans. It seems the nation is back to belittling the Bayou.
…the negotiations [for Shinn to sell the team] had dragged on for so long that we thought it was the time to show a little love for New Orleans. So we stepped in, we continued the strong day-to-day management, we added some strengthening features, we talked with the governor and the mayor, both of whom have been tremendously cooperative together with the business community.
Here in short for those of you with two brain cells living in one of the major markets. Essentially the NBA stepped in to tidy up the accounts and balance sheets to make the team more attractive to a local buyer. The league wanted to see support from corporate sponsors, they have, they wanted to see attendance benchmarks met, they have and they want to see season-ticket holders renew, they will.
There [is] no shortage of suitors who have contacted us who want to buy the team and take it someplace else. … [But] that would not be our first choice at all. That’s not why we stepped in and bought the team.
The NBA is realistic about things, they know that if not all things go to plan, relocation is an option. The same with every organisation. However their first option is to keep the team in the city and look at every way to do such a thing.
…right now we are steaming full speed ahead with every single possible [intent] to make that team successful in New Orleans, and I think we’re going to succeed. So we’re going to make it unattractive to move it or contract it.
David Stern can at times put up a wall. Sometimes he will lie straight to your face. But if you are interested in looking at the facts then you will find that the team and organisation is actually moving ahead nicely. With local businesses and corporate sponsors buying in, it’s only a matter of time before Gary Chouest puts his offer back in.
It’s been heavily speculated that Chouest will only put in an offer of around 60% and that the other 40 percent must come from part-owners. It seems that there is such a group that is being formed by local attorney Morris Bart who is willing to put up 10 percent himself.
The NBA is on the look-out for expansion cities (such as Seattle) but don’t be fooled at the thought of relocation. The commissioner wants to expand, not to contract his business.