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RBA
09-08-2005, 08:32 PM
Several cities express interest in New Orleans franchise








OKLAHOMA CITY Oklahoma City isn't the only city interested in hosting the N-B-A's New Orleans Hornets.

The Kansas City Star is reporting that city's mayor contacted the N-B-A and offered the team a temporary home if the Hornets can't play in their arena this year.



Oklahoma City, San Diego and Nashville are among the other non-N-B-A cities that have made similar offers.



Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Johnny Footstool
09-09-2005, 12:27 AM
The NBA would flounder in KC. This is a college basketball town.

KronoRed
09-09-2005, 02:06 AM
Only city on their that gets a maybe would be Nashville

Why not Louisville? too close to Indy?

RBA
09-09-2005, 06:10 AM
Friday, September 09, 2005
Copyright Las Vegas Review-Journal

Homeless NBA team checks on LV's interest


By CHRIS JONES
GAMING WIRE



Forced out of town by Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans Hornets owner George Shinn is exploring whether he can move his National Basketball Association franchise to Southern Nevada, a source close to the talks said Thursday.

Shinn called Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman several times this week to discuss the community's interest and ability to host his team, though it remains unclear whether Shinn hopes the Hornets' proposed stay would be temporary or permanent, the source added.

Unlike the city's past flirtations with professional sports, the source also stressed that, this time, a team's representatives reached out to Las Vegas, not the other way around.

Despite Shinn's inquiries, many obstacles could chase the Hornets elsewhere. In addition to scheduling challenges at each of the city's busy arenas, the NBA's long-standing opposition to sports book wagering on pro basketball could pose an insurmountable hurdle.

As long as NBA games are posted at the state's legalized sports books, the league will not consider Las Vegas as host destination on either a short- or long-term basis, NBA spokesman Tim Frank said Thursday.

"That's always been our policy," Frank said. The local source agreed, saying the team will not play here for precisely that reason.

The NBA last month picked Las Vegas to host its All-Star Weekend in 2007, but only after state gaming leaders agreed to ban wagers on NBA events that weekend. Casino leaders were willing to give up All-Star action because the game is not historically popular with bettors, but it's highly unlikely a permanent ban on NBA contests would be accepted in Nevada gaming circles.

At his weekly news conference Thursday, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said he's received calls from "a lot of people" who have suggested Katrina's winds and waves could represent a turning point in this city's ongoing quest to land a major sports franchise.

But Goodman added he believes it's inappropriate to "take advantage of people while they're down," so he therefore declined to actively court the Hornets.

Goodman also said he was contacted this week by New Orleans sports representatives, though he declined to identify who.

In an e-mail sent Thursday from a temporary team office in Houston, Hornets spokesman Scott Hall referred questions about the team's potential relocation to the NBA league's office in Manhattan.

Reached there by telephone, Frank said league leaders continue to work with the team on contingency plans for the coming season, though no decision has been made regarding alternate sites for the 2005-06 schedule, or a permanent relocation of the franchise outside of New Orleans.

The Hornets' first preseason game at New Orleans Arena is not scheduled until Oct. 20, but Katrina's destruction of the city -- as well as the lives, jobs and possessions of much of the Hornets' fan base -- makes it extremely unlikely the team will play at its normal home anytime soon.

NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik recently sent an e-mail to the league's 29 other franchises that asked teams to prepare for the possibility that the Hornets would have to move.

"Even if the arena is operable, it still may be impossible to play games in New Orleans for some time," read the message, according to a report published in The New York Times.

The Review-Journal reported this week that UNLV has offered its Thomas & Mack Center to host some Hornets games in the coming season, and Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett also said his city's 19,675 -seat Ford Center could accommodate the team, the Associated Press reported.

Published reports also suggested the 14,164-seat Pete Maravich Assembly Center at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge could be considered. The team's training camp will begin at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Shinn's personal history -- like that of his franchise -- is rife with ups and downs, including a controversial franchise relocation three years ago. His past insistence on tax-supported stadiums could also turn off Southern Nevada sports fans.

The Hornets began play in the NBA's 1988-89 season. In its initial years, the team routinely sold out North Carolina's 23,698-seat Charlotte Coliseum as basketball-crazy fans greatly supported the Tar Heel state's first major professional sports franchise.

But things soured in the mid-1990s when Shinn and co-owner Ray Wooldridge traded several popular players, and threatened to move the team unless taxpayers chipped in for a new, luxury box-laden arena.

Shinn's reputation was further damaged when a younger woman named Leslie Price accused him of sexual assault during a 1999 civil trial. Shinn, who was married at the time, admitted to a sexual encounter with Price, though he claimed it was consensual.

Court testimony also revealed Shinn had engaged in a lengthy extramarital affair with a member of the Hornets' dance team, according to reports published in the Gaston (N.C.) Gazette newspaper.

Shinn was acquitted in the Price trial, but the public was less forgiving, particularly when Price's estranged husband shot and killed himself soon after the case concluded. The couple said the dispute with Shinn "strained their marriage and finances," according to the Charlotte Observer.

Taking issue largely with Shinn, according to published reports, voters in Charlotte in 2001 overwhelmingly rejected a $342 million tax package that would have financed a new Hornets arena. That step assured the team would leave the city, and following courtships with several cities, including Las Vegas, the team began play in New Orleans in fall 2002, where its $110 million arena was financed entirely with public funds.

Even prior to Katrina, the team's stay in the Big Easy has been difficult. Playing before the smallest crowds in the NBA, the team earlier this year was caught inflating its attendance figures by reselling tickets originally bought at huge discounts for Shinn's charity account.

Baron Davis, who was the team's best player, was traded to Golden State in February, a move that stripped the Hornets of their top box office draw.

On the court, the team enjoyed its best regular season in 1996-97 when it finished 54-28 before falling to the New York Knicks in the opening round of the playoffs.

Overall, the Hornets qualified for postseason play eight times in the franchise's 17-year history. The team enjoyed its best postseason run in 2001, when it lost a tough seven-game series to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

The team was shifted to the NBA's Western Conference at the start of the 2004-05 season, when its poor 18-64 record caused the team to miss the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

The franchise's best-known player was arguably former UNLV standout Larry Johnson, a two-time NBA All-Star in Charlotte who spent five seasons with the team beginning in 1991-92.

The team's current roster is devoid of big-name stars, but other popular ex-Hornets include Alonzo Mourning, Glen Rice and Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues, a 5-foot-3-inch point guard.









Find this article at:
http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2005/Sep-09-Fri-2005/news/27180153.html

macro
09-09-2005, 08:30 AM
Only city on their that gets a maybe would be Nashville

Why not Louisville? too close to Indy?

I think Louisville is too close to Indy for comfort, but no one seemed to care about that when the city was courting teams. One obstacle would be that there isn't much love for Hornets ownership in Louisville, since they chose New Orleans over Louisville during the recent relocation. Some people in Louisville would have to swallow their pride to have the Hornets come at this point, since Louisville apparently wasn't good enough for them before.

It is going to be a tough sell to get some in town to accept any NBA team, much less one that has thumbed its nose at the city. I would be in favor of letting them come if the move was going to be permanent, but not just as a stopover while New Orleans is rebuilt. I'm sorry to sound cruel, but I (and I suspect Louisville's leaders, as well) am in no mood to do the Hornets franchise any favors after they told the city it wasn't up to their standards only a few months ago. I guess I'm holding a grudge.

RANDY IN INDY
09-09-2005, 08:36 AM
Believe me, you want no part of George Shinn. He's a real popular guy in these parts. ;)

Unassisted
09-09-2005, 02:28 PM
Once the Saints season is over, the Alamodome is available next winter and spring. Besides, it would be great to live in America's smallest city with two major sports franchises in the same league. ;)

It's telling that no consideration is being given by this team to staging the games within driving distance of New Orleans. :thumbdown:

macro
09-10-2005, 09:28 AM
ESPNews had a headline yesterday that "Louisville" has extended an offer for the Hornets to play some of their games there this year. I didn't see the report, so I'm not sure what exactly they said. I did see the local report, though, and the people that own Freedom Hall (Fair Board, I think), have extended an invite to the Hornets.

My earlier comments were coming from the angle of Lville becoming a permanent home for the team, and the city providing a new arena. I guess the fair board can invite whomever they want to come play in Freedom Hall, but I still think there will be some sweet-talking to do if the Hornets are looking for a permanent home.

What's going to happen to the Hornets? Will they be looking for a new home, or can they return to New Orleans in fall '06? Are there going to be enough people living in that area to even support the team? Will those people have the diposable income to go, given what has happened?

KronoRed
09-10-2005, 11:36 AM
It's telling that no consideration is being given by this team to staging the games within driving distance of New Orleans. :thumbdown:

To be fair, most places within driving distance are packed in with evacuates, I know Baton Rouge is because LSU is considering what to do with some of their night games because of the lack of hotel rooms.

Reds/Flyers Fan
09-10-2005, 12:10 PM
Once the Saints season is over, the Alamodome is available next winter and spring. Besides, it would be great to live in America's smallest city with two major sports franchises in the same league. ;)

It's telling that no consideration is being given by this team to staging the games within driving distance of New Orleans. :thumbdown:

It's also telling that the Hornets are considering leaving New Orleans permanently (when they just got there!). At this point, who would want that franchise? It seems like they aren't ready to stick around for the long haul, which is unfortunate considering what their adopted city is going through. It looks like they are looking for the nicest ticket out of town. Pathetic.

Why isn't Baton Rouge being accepted for BOTH the Saints and Hornets until NO is ready again? The NFL making the Saints play a home game on the road is bad enough, but if they make the Saints play the season on the road, that would be shameful. They could provide a nice distraction to the people of Louisiana for a few hours at least if the games were held in BR.

:thumbdown for the NFL

:thumbdown :thumbdown for the Hornets

Unassisted
09-10-2005, 02:18 PM
Why isn't Baton Rouge being accepted for BOTH the Saints and Hornets until NO is ready again? The NFL making the Saints play a home game on the road is bad enough, but if they make the Saints play the season on the road, that would be shameful. Latest word is that the Saints players would prefer to play as many home games as possible in San Antonio, which is where the team's temporary practice facilities and offices are located. NFLPA president Gene Upshaw had a meeting with the players and has a seat at the negotiating table to represent their interests as the decision of where to play is being made. Just as a practical matter, the players are renting apartments for their families and buying homes and condos here in SA, so it figures that they would like to spend more time at home with their families before "home" games. 3 games at LSU and 4 in SA sounds like the most likely scenario, although the league is said to be pushing for more Baton Rouge games.

Another issue that will be interesting here is which NFC team's games get carried on local TV. Cowboys fans are numerous and vocal here. I don't think they will be very happy if conflicting Saints games get priority over the Cowboys games on TV.

WVRed
09-10-2005, 04:54 PM
I (and I suspect Louisville's leaders, as well) am in no mood to do the Hornets franchise any favors after they told the city it wasn't up to their standards only a few months ago. I guess I'm holding a grudge.

I was hoping Kentucky would get an NBA franchise, but the Hornets were pretty much a lock for New Orleans and everybody knew it. The team that I thought burned Louisville more was the Grizzlies.

They even had everything pretty much set up. Rename them to the Kentucky Colonels and have them play in a new downtown arena called the KFC Bucket.

SandyD
09-11-2005, 07:55 AM
To be fair, most places within driving distance are packed in with evacuates, I know Baton Rouge is because LSU is considering what to do with some of their night games because of the lack of hotel rooms.

Baton Rouge has doubled in size. Can't find rental property. People are buying homes for "temporary" residence. Schools are going to platoons --- residents during the day and evacuees at night. Traffic is a nightmare.

It would be tough for BR to host many sporting events at the moment.