When the Dust Settles
If you haven’t heard the news yet, George Shinn has reportedly agreed to sell the team to current minority owner, Gary Chouest. The deal has been widely expected for quite some time, and even though there were some snags in negotiations, it appears that the team will announce him as the new owner on Wednesday.
What does this mean for the actual organization heading forward?
The team will be able to spend more money in the future. Although Chouest did not make his money by being wasteful, he has much deeper pockets than George Shinn and in theory would be more able to take a loss if need be. As Ryan pointed out though, Shinn has “not skimped on player salaries, even if his front office has been slimmer than others.”
That front office talk has some meaning to it. Shinn certainly saved some cash each year having three scouts- Bob, Kip and and Kelly Bass. Compare that to organizations like the Lakers, who employ seven. Or the Hornets 20 basketball operations employees, as opposed to the 31 employed in Los Angeles. Adding a few more scouts, coaches, and trainers can do literally nothing but help.
Considering the injury woes the team has had in recent years, this might be a bigger deal than it seems. Last season the team employed a Trainer, a Director of Athletic Performance and Rehab, and a Strength and Core Coach. The Suns and Lakers on the other hand, employed five guys in similar roles.
The coaching search, which has been swiftly moving forward as it is, will now be completely unhindered by questions regarding ownership. It has been reported that Chouest will be targeting Avery Johnson, who is set to interview with the club on Tuesday.
The disappointing last two years, coupled with a poor economy had left many speculating that season ticket sales and individual game sales would be way down next year, especially since the team is already over the luxury tax and is unlikely to be a player in free agency this summer. A change in ownership should bring some real life back into a franchise that has headed downhill since the magical season in 2007-2008.
What does this mean for the Hornets online community?
There won’t shouldn’t be any more specuation about a possible relocation. Ever since Katrina, other cities, namely Kansas City, Oklahoma City, and now Seattle, have been drooling over the through of having CP3 and the Hornets Franchise in their respective hometowns. Given that Chouest is from Louisiana, has around a billion dollars, and has made it explicity clear that he’s keeping the team in New Orleans, there really is no reason to think even for a minute that the team will be moving.
The future of Chris Paul is looking much more secure. For what seems like forever, Hornets fans have had to fend off ill informed reports that CP3 was going to be dealt for expirings, or that Shinn had to move him because the team was going bankrupt. Although it was all pure speculation, it happened nonethess. It was annoying and I’m ready to see it done. Chouest hasn’t said much regarding ownership, but one thing that he’s made clear is that his number one priority is keeping CP3 in town.
So now that the team presumably has Chris Paul locked up and the franchise cemented in New Orleans, what’s next? Oh yeah, the team is going to steal your players. Yeah you, New York City, LA, Detroit, Houston, San Antonio, etc. You guys really thought that we had to trade Chris Paul, and that if we did it would be to you? HA!
Look at us now-
Local billionaire owner looking to win a title? Check.
Good arena that averaged 16,000 fans the last two years despite missing the playoffs one year and only being the 7th seed the other? Check
Awesome outdoor parties before every game with including live music, and free beer for season ticket holders? Check
Best point guard in all the land? Check
26 million dollars in expiring contracts to work with this coming season? Check
Two of the top five rookies (yeah, I said it) in a stacked class? Check
A chance at winning the lottery? Check
A city that has a one of a kind nightlife, loves it’s stars, and actually allows them some semblance of a private life? Check
A completely legitimate head coach? Check
Who wouldn’t want to come play in New Orleans nowadays?