Season in the Abyss

By:
Published: June 30, 2011

It Has Ended

Where the glossy parquet is lorded over by grand pillars supporting baskets that would hold no peach I’ve ever seen, lit from above by tiny stars . . . there is a nothingness. The floors are still there, reflecting the shine. The baskets are there, ready to perform their function in iconic irony. The remnants of a better day are waiting resolutely for the dawn that may never come.

There is no next time. There is no next day. There is only cold mist, obscuring any future that is there, if there is even a future at all.

The floor is just a bunch of hydrocarbons, cleverly arranged, rotting more slowly than the city around it. The stars are just filaments in a fragile glass shell, waiting to see whether the imperfections in their protection or in their hearts will choke the light. The pillars are just standing there, holding up nothing of importance, signifying nothing great.

The greatness is gone. The purpose from which greatness springs has been shut from the world, locked away like secret in a diary.

The game is gone.

It Has Begun

A new game is being born. It will look the same to most. There will be a ball. Just one. It will bounce. Up and down. It’ll get thrown around, and it will fall through the basket. There will be cheering.

The important changes will be the ones we can not see or hear. These changes could be the ones that kill the game. These changes could be the ones that give the game life everlasting. These changes could do both: Give the game life, but not for us.

New Orleans Hornets fans are worldwide (Niall, Nikkoewan, Grayson, Highmore, Bug Marley to name 5), but all Hornets fans have an interest in the team staying right here. The fans that are in the city clearly want the team to stay put, but the fans everywhere should be hoping for stability so the team can truly compete with the great ones in the NBA.

The lockout that just started is about more than a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). It’s about a fundamental change in the way the owners operate both among themselves and with the players. As noted, these changes will not affect the points being scored or how the game is played. They will, however, affect where the points are being scored and where the games are played.

Under the current CBA, 22 teams are losing money, and some of those have been losing money consistently. There is no game if the business is broken. There are two ways for the problem to be fixed: surround the teams with wealth, whether via market or owners, so that they can stand the volatility of the NBA, or stabilize the business to that the heritage of the NBA can be preserved as much as possible.

If this CBA ends up favoring the first route over the second, the NBA in New Orleans is dead forever. We may have a season or two . . . we may play out the lease . . . but maybe not. Regardless, any arrangement will just be temporary.

This CBA must stabilize the business so that owners are not asked to essentially pay millions of dollars to be called an owner while making me happy.

This is the most important thing about the CBA negotiations for fans in all markets. In ALL markets. Billionaires did not become so by bleeding money. They became so by keeping their money and adding to it. Any owner that does not care about making money is not a good owner. The great owners care about making money while winning, sure, but no owner just spends to win without regard to cost. That idea is absurd, insulting, and clouds the true importance of the negotiations.

The most likely way to create the needed stability is through extensive revenue sharing.

So while you follow the CBA news, grasping on to the juicy bits about contracts and a franchise tag and Bird rights . . . ok, Bird rights are boring . . . about contracts and a franchise tag, remember that those are all secondary to this first good.

This is the only thing that can bring back the game as we know it, and is the only thing that can keep basketball alive in New Orleans.

We already lost a potential owner (Mr. Gary Chouest) due to the financial uncertainty of the NBA, at least for now, that is. We may lose David West and Chris Paul as a result . . . some say this is certain.

Forget David West. Forget Chris Paul. Bless their hearts, but forget them.

They are not what is important.

This team is more than any or all of them put together.

This team is what is important.

If the team stays here, and can do so as a part of this city, greatness will come . . . one day . . . greatness will come . . .

We need a CBA that helps us keep this team here, not these players, because if we don’t, we won’t just spend one season in the abyss . . .

25 comments
L_Reazy
L_Reazy

WRITTEN BY ESPN; What should the Hornets do with Chris Paul? Paul A. Trade him this offseason. B. Deal him at the 2012 trade deadline. C. Hold on to him. Jovan Buha, ClipperBlog: B. Deal him at the 2012 trade deadline. Barring a miraculous trade, the Hornets have no chance at keeping Paul. Nonetheless, they should try and showcase a healthy CP3 for at least part of the season, in hopes of eliminating doubts about his brilliant playoff run's sustainability throughout the course of the regular season. Tim Donahue, 8 Points, 9 Seconds: A. Trade him this offseason. Let David West walk. Deal Chris Paul for a whole lot of youth and picks, and get the franchise in position to be sold and probably moved. Normally, I'd be opposed to that approach, but this is a unique financial situation. Matt McHale, By The Horns: B. Deal him at the 2012 trade deadline. The team has financial problems and won't be going anywhere with or without him. And there have been some indications that he may want to leave and team up with another star or two. The Hornets should spend time next season shopping for the best deal (young talent and expiring contracts). Michael Wallace, Heat Index: B. Deal him at the 2012 trade deadline. But this will be a tricky process, considering the fact the league owns the Hornets. You already have owners lining up to cry foul on any move the team makes if it gives another team the advantage of landing Paul. If the ownership issue remains the same, the only fair thing to do might be to let Paul walk in free agency and do an after-the-fact sign and trade to get draft picks and a huge cap exception. Royce Young, Daily Thunder: C. Hold on to him. Really, just see my answer for Dwight Howard above and insert Paul's name there. We're talking about the top point guard in the league. The Hornets aren't likely contenders right now, but at least force CP3 to make a decision. If you trade him, there's not even a chance he's part of your future. Take the risk.

sundance
sundance

too funny, I thought I had entered a parallel universe when I started reading the comments. Don't know about Shannon, but I wouldn't mind Rodney Stuckey being considered for the starting SG spot, if he comes more cheaply than Afflalo.

NO-CHI
NO-CHI

The CBA is going to change. Here's an idea: the rate that team gets taxed based upon their market, not just their payroll, as well as include National Televised Appearances, jersey sales. All types of revenue (aside from those that come from playoff games.) For example: The Lakers should get taxed 3 to 1 for every dollar going over the salary cap. Fill in all the other teams as you so choose (besides changing the 3 to 1s that I have already given). 3 to 1 Teams Chicago Los Angeles Lakers Los Angeles Clippers Miami Boston New York New Jersey 2 to 1 1 to 2

Hollis21
Hollis21

Great read. I can not lie, if the Hornets got moved to Ohio or Indiana, I'd deal with it since I'd be able to see them more. However, that won't happen and I really want to see this team stay in New Orleans. Your city deserves this team. This CBA is just critical. The current system was a recipe for disaster. I'd really like to see a true hard cap developed like the NFL (maybe NHL?) and create the parity basketball lacks in my opinion. I do not follow the NHL too closely, but those I know that do say there is pretty good parity. I am a diehard football fan, and the NFL is very balanced out. While certain teams compete more consistently than others, new powerhouses are constantly emerging (your Saints for example). I am also an MLB fan and that sport has new playoff teams every year and since they condense their playoffs there are always surprises. I want that parity feeling that I just don't get from the NBA. The Mavs run was impressive and unexpected. I want more of that. I don't want to be able to make a list of four teams that can be champion and be right every single year. A hard cap would give the Hornets that chance to be the uprising team. It would improve our chances of Paul returning and I think our new man Dell Demps showed last year he can make some great moves. If we are all under the same limitations, I like our chances.

James Grayson
James Grayson

I just love how the very first comment on this piece was about Shannon Brown. Did anyone actually read the article? Great piece 42, you're spot on about everything. While keeping Chris Paul and David West will be our goal, ultimately we (and overseas fans too) want the team to stay in New Orleans. If that can be achieved long-term then Chris Paul leaving might be a little less sad than it really is because we may have another shot to rebuild. I think though, that keeping Chris Paul and keeping basketball in New Orleans is synonymous. A guy like Chouest (or any local owner) won't step up unless both the short and long term future of this franchise is secured. Which is why so many fans are hanging their hats on the hope that Paul can stay and compete for a championship. This offseason is huge (if there is one...).

WhoDatPelican96
WhoDatPelican96

Hindsight comment that no one will read. But its great to know how far we've come in 2 years

jsl05
jsl05

I was doing the same thing earlier today, reading all the old articles. Cool stuff

42
42

My surreal intro didn't scream "Shannon Brown" to you? Thanks, Grayson. Your compliments mean so much more because they are upside down. I know what you are saying, but my thinking for the past couple of weeks is that any owner that buys the team because Chris Paul is on the team in the short term (0-5 years), then the CBA isn't friendly enough and we'll still be in danger at some later point in the next 10 years. We need a CBA makes the team attractive even without Paul so the owner operate without staggering fear of the loss of millions if he leaves, someone gets hurt, etc.

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

agreed. the long lasting health of our NEW ORLEANS Hornets will rest on the shoulders of this CBA negotiations, most especially on the structure of HOW teams are build not how much. if the system stays the same, we can say hasta la vista to the Hornets ever truly competing for a championship... (thanks for the shoutout, it means a lot)

42
42

Wrong, Nikkoewan. You mean a lot. Ha Ha! Nikko was wrong! Nikko wrong wrong! Point everyone! Point and laugh!

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

yeah, random walk makes my head think of random things lol.. all this math talk makes me feel like we're in our own world HAHAHA

42
42

These dudes think Shannon Brown is off-topic... Wait 'til they get a load of us!

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

working on stochastic calculus primarily and probability theory. I can't believe tossing a coin is not just a simple heads or tails decision. hahaha. math is so fascinating. have you heard about the tau movement? :( i like pi, so i hope it doesn't push through, but the tau movement do have some valid and good points

42
42

Integrating over random walks, eh? I use a little process theory in my research. Just finite state continuous time Market processes. Pi any day of the week. 0 1 i e pi. Euler equation is the most beautiful in all the world. It has pi. The end. Q.E.D. Le fin. Anyone who groans about powers of 2 needs help. Serious help.

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

hahaha ok lemme be the laughing stock *hides in the corner and cry*

42
42

You are a good sport . . . and, I'm sure you know, only the first two lines were serious . . . If we can't have a little fun now, when there is little else to do, then we just need to hang it our workboots for good, yeah? How's the post-math school going? Whatcha working on these days?

James Online
James Online

Shannon Brown offensive stats 2010-2011: FG 43%, FG3's 35%, Boards per game 2, Assists 1, TOs 1. Marco Belinelli offensive stats 2010-2011: FG 44%, FG3's 41%, Boards per game 2, Assists 1, TOs 1.

Zwie
Zwie

While stats may lead you to believe that shannon and marco produced the same last year, NO ONE on this site can possibly believe that if we would have had Shannon last season, we would still be questioning our starting 2 guard position. Even though they almost produced the same stats, i still believe we might have won more games last year, with shannon as our starting 2.

MaxALM
MaxALM

hahahahahaha WOW James..... Where does your fanhood align? With the Hornets? Or with Marco's fantasy superpowers? At least Ariza is competent/reliable on defense every game, which for the Hornets is about 70% of what they do. Overrated? You've got to be kidding. He gets bashed all the time on this website for his lack of offense. But most of the people here would agree that Ariza is an elite defender. Was Marco responsible for the Hornets' jump from one of the worst defenses to one of the best? No, that was Ariza.

42
42

I think Ariza is correctly rated for the reasons you suggest, Max. I do think with the proper shooting guard and sets, ones that can allow him to slash, with some better situational coaching, we may be able to maximally utilize his simple toolkit. That's alot of ifs. One can imagine improvement at both positions. Whether we can actually improve is another matter entirely.

James Online
James Online

No, the stats (and watching the games) makes clear Marco was far more productive than Shannon Brown. Shannon Brown shoots poorly, especially from range, and is not interested in playing defense. If you're looking to blame an overrated player, Trevor Ariza is your man.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

dont know why it double posted that, but regardless ill take shannon over marco anyday. (look at us 42 discussing things that are off topic in the blog)

42
42

Hooked you up. Did I not mention Shannon Brown or Marco Belinelli in neither the surreal portion of the post nor the part about the CBA? I thought I did. Glad you guys have kept me on track.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

"might have won more games with shannon" more like we would have won more games with shannon as our starting 2. Marco's a joke with a sack of deceiving stats, his specialty is missing wide open 3's and the art of too little too late.