The Hornets started the 2010-11 season with an 11-2 record, during which time they managed approximately 13,000 in average attendance. There are reports that the length of their lease at New Orleans Arena is based on attendance. Those same reports claim that they can opt out of their lease should they fail to reach certain levels of attendance during the 2010-11 season.
That sounds a lot like the Cleveland Indians' scenario in the movie Major League. Though recent and reliable sources say that the NBA itself is planning to purchase the Hornets due to the financial instability of current ownership, David Stern has said that he would like the franchise to stay in New Orleans if possible.
The 3-8 record the Hornets have posted since they were 11-2 cannot have done much to boost attendance. Let us not forget that this would not be the first time an NBA franchise left New Orleans because it could not stay afloat.
For the younger NBA fans who think that Utah Jazz is an oxymoron, it is. The Jazz moved from New Orleans—you know, where they actually have Jazz. I guess the organization didn't think the more appropriate and indigenous moniker, the Utah Salt, created the desired effect.
The team is unlikely to be sold until league officials and the NBA players association can come to a collective bargaining agreement. Such an agreement might change revenue sharing in such a way that the Hornets could be a viable and solvent NBA franchise.
Needless to say, the rumor mills are all atwitter at the prospect of Chris Paul dishing dimes in or about the greater Seattle area. New Orleans is first on this list because it is the only team that comes complete with a legitimate superstar signed through 2013.
It has been reported that Paul asked for a trade before the 2010-11 season began. If Paul is a student of NBA history, he probably wanted to be traded to a team that already has a superstar because one superstar cannot win championships without another.
To date, the Hornets have Paul and role players whose scoring is enhanced by Paul's great point guard play. A great player can put a stamp on a game even when he has an off night scoring. Good role players post good, or even great, stats that are commensurate with their roles, but they do not possess the all-around game to put a team on their backs and carry them on any given night.
Of all the teams on this list, the Hornets are the closest to being the type of perennial playoff team that could make the people of Seattle forget the sting of the Sonics leaving and embrace the NBA experience once more.
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