The New Orleans Hornets are reportedly in trouble, with rumors swirling about the possibility of the NBA buying the team as it struggles to meet attendance standards. Last-ditch efforts to sell the team by owner George Shinn fell-through late last week, leaving open the possibility the NBA could buy the struggling franchise and work to sell the Hornets to a permanent owner.
The NBA has scheduled a conference call Monday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. local time to answer questions about the Hornets and, perhaps, announce the league has bought the franchise. Should the NBA buy the franchise, the Hornets may be able to break their lease with New Orleans arena as soon as Jan. 31, 2011, making relocation a likely scenario.
Rumors suggest Hornets president Hugh Weber -- the brother-in-law of Shinn -- would remain in place, as would general Dell Demps. The Hornets are on pace to fail to meet attendance standards that, if not exceeded by January 31, 2011, would allow the team to break its lease with New Orleans Arena, paying the state of Louisiana a severance fee of just $10 million.
After Seattle lost the Sonics to Oklahoma City, local groups, spear-headed by SonicsGate, have lobbied to bring a franchise back to Seattle. With the Hornets on the verge of being up for grabs, and looking for a new home, expect Seattle to pop-up as a potential suitor if, and when, the deal goes down.
Stay tuned for updates from NBA commissioner David Stern's conference call and the latest about the New Orleans Hornets as the story develops.