The Organisation of the New Orleans Hornets is on the resurgence, just like the city.

Five Reasons To Be Optimistic About The New Orleans Hornets


We all know that in the NBA things are at their darkest. Both the NBA Players and the NBA Owners are not talking to each other like a couple in all sorts of marital problems. It sucks that I have to bring it up time and time again, but it’s holding us back from one of the best sports and leagues in the world.

Moving on from that though, let’s reflect a little bit on the New Orleans Hornets. Yeah I know right, you almost have forgotten completely about them in the midst of all of the labour tension. But, fear not Swarm and Sting will keep you up to date.

The New Orleans Hornets look to be in a bit of a dour state to most outsiders. I hear things like, “Contract them, no one cares,” to “Give them to Seattle,” but not without “That city can’t even support one professional sports team!”

It’s no doubt to most of you outside NBA fans that are reading this that your preconceptions about the team are somewhat justifiable. However, if you would actually research into the matter you’ll find there are some things that are up-lifting about this team both on and off the court.

1. A New Local Ownership Group Is On Its Way

The biggest piece of news coming out of New Orleans is that the bidding for the Hornets is now open and an ownership group is poised to take over the reigns of the NBA. Gary Chouest and a contingent of minority owners (speculated to include the likes of local attorney Morris Bart and more) seemed ready to purchase the team.

A big issue for the Hornets was that before the NBA took over the team was borrowing money at an astonishing rate. Most NBA franchises have a billionaire as their owner, the Hornets had a guy whose net worth was less than 200 million dollars. George Shinn kept borrowing money to pay his players as well as sign big free-agent names. The debt was so bad that the NBA had to take over. No matter how much fan support or corporate sponsorships, the Hornets were in a bad way.

The NBA now has straightened out the books, pushed for more fan support, looked to expand more corporate sponsors, seek a new lease with the state and a new TV contract. These are all now right on their way to being completed as Local owners look poised to take over.

2. Strong Front-Office and Organisation

Dell Demps has come in and installed a San-Antonian Spurs-like front-office. Both he and Monty Williams have similar lines of thinking and are willing to be patient and seek the right opportunities both in roster moves as well as organisational ones. They’re not without help though. The support of Hugh Weber has been instrumental in pushing for more season ticket holders as well as supporting the New Orleans community. Jac Sperling has done a terrific job of steadying the ship and keeping things on task. Hopefully with a local ownership group in place much will remain the same.

Whether or not Chris Paul is on the roster, I have full faith that both Dell Demps and Monty Williams will transition the Hornets back to being a strong playoff team whether that be in 2 years or in 10.

A general manager that makes more moves that a nomad.

3. A Flexible Roster

Putting aside Chris Paul at the moment the Hornets roster is actually quite young and athletic. But more than that it’s flexible. If the Hornets want to start over again they can do so easily. Let David West go, try to resign Carl Landry, use an amnesty on Emeka Okafor or Trevor Ariza and acquire as many draft picks as you can for Chris Paul.

From another angle the Hornets have the room to go out and bring in the talent necessary to help Chris Paul win a championship. They’d have to convince people to come to New Orleans, but with a new owner and more sellout crowds that might not be as difficult as once was.

4. A New Lease For the Long Term

Something that is essential for the Hornets in their quest to stay in New Orleans for the long term is a new long-term lease. The current lease has been somewhat of a thorn in the side of the operations, but a new one might be the cure.

Jac Sperling has stated that a new lease with the State of Louisiana will have no opt-out clauses or attendance benchmarks, which are thoroughly outdated. Putting the onus on the organisation to get the fans into the stands.

5. A Vision For The Future

I believe that long term the Hornets want to build for a championship. Doing it with Chris Paul will speed up the process, but I believe that Dell Demps and Monty Williams are both up to that task. If Chris Paul decides to leave, the Hornets have to restart and shift their plan. Either way they will be prepared for any scenario that comes at their door-step.

It sounds absurd to think that the Hornets could win a championship with Chris Paul, but with the strong organisational foundations that they already have, combined with a new strong and aggressive ownership there’s no telling how good this team could be.


Tags: Chris Paul David West Dell Demps Emeka Okafor Gary Chouest Hugh Weber Jac Sperling Monty Williams NBA Lockout New Orleans Hornets Trevor Ariza

  • oceanback

    @hughweber1 And you are deservedly a big reason (see no. 2).

  • lottoni81

    Excellent post. I love New Orleans. I hope to return to this wonderful city very soon. And, from afar, I see there are a huge effort to the Hornets stay in the New Orleans. And I’m rooting for that to happen too. A new owner is critical in this process. And I think we will have one soon. Go Hornets!

  • Chris_G

    Really enjoyed this read James and the Highlights. I thought the only way we could keep CP3 is with an aggressive Owner, Hopefully the Owner falls into place in the next month or so. I think Having Dell Demps and Monty Williams around the Franchise for many years to come will aid the Hornets to achieve their ultimate goal one day. The problem we are going to have which we have always had is getting FA’s to come to New Orleans, even with Strong Ownership and Great Crowds teams like Golden State have struggled for yrs barely even getting to the Playoffs once because FA arent interested in playing there. The big question for me is David West and Carl Landry, do we sign both or One or None. You cant question David West’s toughness and what he brings but how will he can back from the Knee Injury? So I would Have Landry Back for sure. Also Okafor, It seems the logical choice to use the Amnesty on him but Big Men dont come cheap so maybe he gets Traded or Stays and Dell brings in someone like Joel Przybilla as back up centre. So many question to answer I wish this lockout would end soon.

  • JamesGrayson

    @lottoni81 Thanks, it’s good to have you commenting too! I know the lockout is in all likelihood going to drag out over the rest of the year, but we’re going to try to keep content fresh here.

    Things are promising in New Orleans! Let’s hope guys like Chris Paul, David West and Carl Landry see it the same way too.

  • JamesGrayson

    @Chris_G A lot of questions you’re right. We’ve tried to address each of them here, but as you can tell there’s no easy answer.

    The thing I keep coming back to is what direction does this team want to move in? I think once they answer that question all these moves become a lot easier to make.

    If Chris Paul plans on staying then getting back BOTH David West and Carl Landry for reasonable prices could be had, but again it’s predicated on Paul staying.

    If Paul decides that New Orleans is not the place he wants to be then I say cut the rope and gut the roster and get two things:

    1. Young talent (Lots of draft picks, preferably lottery picks)

    2. Get cheap talent that will get the job done (think of like a Marco Belinelli who averages 10 points on about 3-4 million a year)

    The Cleveland Cavaliers are probably the best example of this, but they got REALLY lucky. Also I’d look at the Jazz as an example too.

    But these are questions for another time.

  • Chris_G

    @JamesGrayson If Paul indicates early that he wants to move on then Dell Demps needs to convince Paul to go to LA Clippers or Oklahoma. I dont believe that Paul will force Dell to send him to NY because I think Paul is not selfish. I think Paul would love OKC but that would be more on OKC wanting to part ways with Westbrook who is still developing. LAC can give us young talent and Picks. Marco Belinelli is not worth more then 2mil per yr, he didnt perform often enough last season, he could have been the difference in the LAL series. Yes Cleveland did get lucky but next draft is suppose to be stacked with talent. I Hope we keep Paul but if not Dell Demps needs to re-build in the 2012 Draft.

  • lottoni81

    @Chris_G@JamesGrayson I agree with Chris and I appreciate the words of James. Certainly I will continue attending the Swarm & Sting. Even here in South America, I feel part of the family. hahaha

  • JamesGrayson

    @Chris_G Yea the Clippers are the team I’d target for those exact reasons. We’d have to time it so that the Clippers would be in the lottery by the trade deadline (hoping they’re not good).

  • Chris_G

    The Clippers hold the T-Wolves 2012 first rnd pick Plus there own. If we do acquire those picks we could have 3 lottery picks in 2012. If Demps goes down the path of trying to make a trade to get CP to stay, who is a realistic target? I think Iggy or Granger, I would love Josh Smith but I think thats not going to happen.