Though NBA Commissioner David Stern has insisted that moving the team is not an option, momentum is building among the owners for the relocation of the league-owned New Orleans Hornets.
Since buying the team from majority owner George Shinn in early December, Stern and the league have been fending off rumors that the league will move the team in the next year or two because of sagging attendance in New Orleans.
Contraction has also been put on the table as an option, though unacceptable to Stern. In a podcast with ESPN's Bill Simmons, Stern divulged that some owners are in favor of contracting the moribund franchise, or at least moving it.
The news isn't all grim for local Hornets fans, however, as the team exceeded the average attendance benchmark that locks in the team's lease with New Orleans Arena and prevents it from relocating imminently. It appears that Hornets are staying in New Orleans for the near future, and that 2012 relocation or contraction will not happen.
Still, NBA owners are not excited about holding up a league-owned franchise that isn't contributing much to the revenue or public relations pie, and they will apply pressure to the league to move the team to a more desirable locale or eliminate it altogether.
Contraction is a conversation killer in this forum, but relocation is something we can get fired up talking about.
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