Before the Hornets played the Kings on March 12, 2011, I sat down with a small group of season ticket holders in a Q&A session with Hornets television announcer, Gil McGregor. Harold Kaufman, Vice President of Communications, assisted on some questions that fell into his bailiwick.
Before going on with the details of the Q&A, I want to mention a couple of related items.
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Second, I want to make it clear that I don’t get to go to these things because I’m special. I’m not, and my mom tells me so twice a day. This sort of session with Hornets insiders is available to all season ticket holders through the Lagniappe program. I’ve already sat down with Dell Demps twice this season, for instance. So take THAT, Mom!
On to the main course . . .
Iâ€™m In: The Hornets will be launching the â€œIâ€™m Inâ€ Campaign soon. It is their drive to try to grow the season ticket holder count above 10,000.
Basketball Operations: Gil says this is the most focused Basketball Operations group that heâ€™s worked with. Considering his tenure with the team, with even more time in the industry elsewhere, that is a weighty statement. The guys never get tired of â€œtalking hoop,â€ and that is a good thing. He feels the goal is to emulate San Antonio, which is another good thing . . . if you like winning games, bringing home titles, and rooting for quality people, players, and teams.
1st play: The Hornets practice the first play of every game. In this game, things did not end up working out according to the script. Chris was supposed to lead the team up the court and dump the ball to David. The design of the play was for David to draw the defense in, then give the ball to Trevor, who was to have initiated a cut to the basket. It went to Emeka instead. We got a point on that possession, so it worked out, just not as planned. Such is the value of a point guard. This was when I found out Chris was starting, by the way.
Next Position of Need: A scoring big. A close second would be a backup small forward. On this front, the coaches are working with the big men we have.
The Hornets’ Budget: The Hornets are operating under the same financial plan the Mr. Shinn and Mr. Chouest approved when they were the owners. The NBA found it to be fiscally responsible and gave approval to operate under it, including the addition of salary according to that plan. The budget is not unlimited, nor is it mandated to never increase. Additionally, they view the current situation as short-term. They expect to be in a traditional ownership situation in the not-too-distant-future, at which point they’ll have to deal with their constraints. At this point they are getting the franchise in order and adding some “curb appeal.” The time-scale was not specified.
David West: We have a good chance to re-sign David. Regarding the rumors of him eyeing New Jersey, Gil pointed out that while David was born in that area, he calls North Carolina â€œhome.â€
NFL Lockout: Since the NFL CBA negotiations are going badly at this point, his hope is that the NBA will take note and avoid a lockout.
Marcus Thornton: Marcus is a good player, but we had 3 other players that could together, and on different nights, bring to the game what Marcus brought. We did not, however, have anyone like Carl Landry on our team, and that is why someone like him needed to be acquired. Carl has shown his value almost immediately with the injury to David West.