Five Storylines Sure to Rock the World of New Orleans Hornets Fans

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Published: November 11, 2011

Whenever this silly lockout does come to a conclusion, New Orleans Hornets fans are going to find themselves right in the middle of some pretty serious stories that will likely determine the long and short term future of the franchise as a whole.

Ha! You thought the lockout was a big deal? That was just the tip of the iceberg.

Things are going to get U-G-L-Y, and we don’t have an alibi. We don’t even want one. What does that even mean? Why would you need an excuse for being ugly? Who even cares if you are? I was told long ago by an electrician of mine that ugly is only on the inside. Can’t say I disagree even a little.

Anyway, we’re going to be right smack in the middle of a hailstorm with our names all over the pelting comments. Our opinions will matter because in the world of the internet my comment means just as much as yours or Bill Simmons, and oh BOY is there going to be a lot of opinionated content, both good, bad, and ugly. We’re going to scream and we’re going to shout. We’re going going to attack our computers and swear off the team and our fellow fans. Friends will turn on friends. Enemies will realize they have more in common than they thought.

Some will go crazy, as some always do. They will become fixated on one issue, unable to talk about anything else. They will shout about it endlessly on all articles and forum threads and news posts, regardless of what the story is actually about. They will relate a Mo-P hangnail to the immediate need to fire Jeff Bower. They will insist that Monty be let go for not playing Thornton enough, even as the team is undefeated. They will act irrationally, and they will be asked to stop, and they won’t. They just won’t stop, because YOU NEED TO KNOW THAT THEY STILL FEEL THE SAME WAY THEY DID EARLIER. OBVIOUSLY THEY WILL AT SOME POINT SWITCH TO ALL CAPS BECAUSE IT IS LOUDER. THEY NEED TO BE THE LOUDEST BECAUSE THEY ARE THE RIGHEST!!!

Here are the issues that will divide and bring us together. This is what our year looks like if (<– that’s a big if) the players accept the most recent deal.

The push for 11,000

No, that’s not a typo. I’m predicting the Hornets are going to flirt with getting 11,000 full season ticket holders before opening tip of game one. For those scoring at home, that would be an increase of roughly 4700 (75%) from the end of last year’s regular season. This one won’t divide us at all, and will be an awesome way to stick our middle fingers up at the rest of the league for doubting us.

David West’s Free Agency

While West hasn’t always been spectators’ favorite defensive player, he’s generally avoided being a part of conversations that threaten to ruin friendships. That might change. Signing the guy to a 10 million dollar a year deal is treading water. Don’t get me wrong, he’s one of my favorite players. I love that he’s always been here. We share the same opinion about Joe Paterno. I just don’t see what the point of signing an older guy who is a known quantity and now coming off a serious knee injury is, unless the deal is great. It won’t be.

Some will say, “Joe. There is nobody to replace him with.” That’s kind of right (we’ll discuss that in another article), but we have no chance of winning the title with the core as presently built, and nobody is going to trade us an older unhappy all star (dwight???) for an even older all star with a longer contract. Being pretty good is cool in the NBA, but being young and talented with the potential to be great for a long time is much more fun.

Unless the plan is to pretend to win a title with West and Paul, and then blow it up about halfway through if things aren’t going extremely well and get a ton of draft picks and young stars, I just don’t see the point. That plan, though, is actually not too shabby.

CP3: To Trade or Not to Trade

As far as issues go, this one is the biggest and it really hasn’t been addressed yet by the fan base. Chris Paul is the basketball son that New Orleans had been begging since 2002. He’s cool. He’s a size that inspires the less than enourmous. He’s low key and down to earth. He helps out around the community and says mostly the right things in interviews. On the court he ain’t too shabby, either.

But there was that “big three” comment…

And it isn’t exactly a well kept secret that he really, really wants to win…

So Hornets fans (and certain GM’s) will face a point where they will look at themselves and ask the most important question they will face about players all year– With the new CBA, additions to the team, and future salary cap flexibility, have we positioned ourselves to the point where keeping Chris Paul and attempting to re-sign him after the season is worth the risk of losing him for just about nothing to a larger market, and having to rebuild the team from utter scratch and without lots of draft picks in what will be a very, very deep and talented draft?

Let me be the first to say that I would love to watch Monty and Dell build a team from draft picks and hand picked free agents. I would also love to see them build a team around CP3, but I really think Dell is going to have to get lucky to make that reality. Just my opinion.

*Because the sign and trade limitations in the proposed CBA are phased in, CP3 could still take part in a traditional sign and trade to big market teams.

Who Dat Owner?

We’ve all long thought (and I still think) that Chouest is the guy who buys the majority of the team. I keep my ear to the ground and people I trust have told me that he wants to do it still, that he’s preparing to do it. But don’t think that there aren’t lots of other potential owners who are interested, both local and long distance.

It’s hard to say what’s going to happen since nobody has fully outed the groups that have formed to purchase the team, but you can bet that if there is a choice, we will have something to say about it. Something loud.

Dat Owner Gonna Rebrand?!?!?!

Quick get under your desks! A Nuclear bomb is coming! That’s about the best way I can describe what’s going to happen after a new owner buys the team. I’ll be at the press conference when whoever it is first takes questions, and I’m going to ask this as soon as possible. It’s funny because I really don’t even care that much. I like the Hornets because I like making insect jokes and stupid puns (Bee-fense!). I understand it makes no sense, and I really don’t care. If they re-brand, great. I hope it’s something sweet.

Anyway, other people care a lot. Like, a ton. That’s the nuclear bomb I was referring to. The desk? This post…

Good luck when it hits. You’re going to need it. If you can, seek shelter and try to avoid the immediate fallout.

edit: Late addition- Will the Hornets Remain COX Blocked?
As I’ve mentioned a number of times the team is in the last year of their agreement with Cox Sports Television, which remains unavailable to DirecTV customers, which make up the entirety of televisions at an unfortunate number of bars and homes in the New Orleans area. For those unlucky/lucky people, televised Hornets games are harder to find than actual Hornets. Cox Sports needs the Hornets more than the Hornets need Cox Sports. I would expect a big jump in revenue to the Hornets as a result. It’s unfortunate, but I doubt the Hornets will insist on more availability as a prerequisite for an agreement.

15 comments
David
David

I say we just break down and deal him. I love CP3, but here are the facts 1.) the chances we hold on to him after the season are slim. CP loves New Orleans, but I think sometimes a change of scenery is needed. He also wants to get to a place where he can win right away. I don't know if that possibility exists in New Orleans in the short term. 2.) If we could get a young star on a rookie contract, we should do it during the season. if we don't deal him in season, we will get considerably less in return. I hated the idea when it first came down the pipe, but I think a Westbrook/Harden combination for Paul would make a ton of sense. Westbrook and Durant obviously have trouble playing together (see the playoffs), and Paul/Durant would be a better fit, plus we could finally fill that 2 guard position that has been such an eyesore for so long. 3,) Paul has had some injury issues, and he will be super expensive. Getting a younger, healthier, cheaper superstar to build around is probably the more prudent way to go at this point. 4.) New Owner. Re-Brand. New star. new season ticket holders. Improvements to the arena. We should start all over and make this New Orleans' team. Personally, I like the New Orleans Royals, branded in purple/green/gold, with a mardi gras royalty theme. (think crown wearing Alligator mascot named Rex). Starting over, starting anew, with a new core, financial flexibility, and draft picks. 5.) Oh yeah, and put some lights on the arena. It looks like crap next to the lit up superdome.

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

If we can get a Russell Westbrook type back for Chris Paul, I jump at the chance from day 1. If we can get a Westbrook+Harden for Paul+1st rounder, I'm doing it before I even hang up the phone. Sorry, I want to build around CP3 more than anybody, but if we can get a bonafide talent in return to build around AND save ourselves from having an epicly disasterful season when we finally have 10-11000 seats in the butts, I'm doing it right away. There is plenty of reason to believe we could get that level of talent in return for CP3. I really believe that we will know all we need to about Monty and Dell after this season. They have 4-5 players under contract and probably a very honest franchise star. I can see CP3 letting them know realistic chances of retaining him so that we don't end up in a LBJ/Bosh situation, if for no other reason than there is a shred of the old CP3 left in that now Hollywood Body of his. Can't really get much closer to starting from scratch than they are right now. BTW, I am with Joe on West. I say hell no to offering him anything above 8-9 a year. If you can retain him around 8, I think you have to take the chance that he can come back healthy. The funny thing about this article? Each section is directly dependent on or affecting at least 2 of the other sections. At the end of the day, we need to keep the attendance up and our team competitive. The marketing team is doing their very best (quite miraculously I might add) to put the Hornets in a favorable situation and the fans are responding. I feel that a 24-48 season could derail so much of the positive momentum we have going right now and the fans are the only positive momentum this team has. P.S. (Adding fire to the flames, gonna get this party going) - Thinking about this whole situation really drives home why trading MT5 was a MASSIVE mistake to me. It limits the team's ability to put a team on the floor that the fans will support. Think about this if you will. We trade CP3 for 2 1st round picks and a player or 2 (neither player is overly significant). We tread water in a crappy 18-54 season but we have a top 4 pick in the draft and MT5 is averaging 23-28 PPG. We have a player that can get people's butts in the seats (because the dude is from LSU and just exciting as S*** to watch) and hope for the future with multiple 1st round picks with tons of cap room for the 2012 FA class. Watching MT5 and DC in 2010 was as much fan as I've had as a Hornets fan (outside of the 2007-2008 playoff run). It isn't all about winning all the time if you can put forth an ENTERTAINING product for the people of NOLA. STH could drop potentially in this scenario from 10500 to 9000 or 9500. Now picture a scenario where we get the same package for CP3. Our record is similar but the team lacks the franchise star or building block that gets the fans excited and we get the feeling that this is a 3-5 year process. Maybe we decide to let the rebuilding takes its course and we go back to 5500 STH. Re-convincing people to buy back into the team would be even harder than convincing them to buy into the team during the lockout etc. My point through all of this? The decision for CP3 to stay or go must be made at the beginning of the year. If we trade him, heavily pursue Marcus or a similar highlight reel, offensive minded player in the offseason and let him do his thing. Winning is winning. Losing is losing. As a STH, I don't care as long as I am entertained. Holding to people to 92 PPG while only being able to score 84-87 PPG is not entertaining. Monty and Dell have their work cut out for them. I can only hope they make their decision quickly, without looking back, while balancing the best interests of the Hornets and their fan base.

bkmbrla
bkmbrla

I think you have WAY TOO MUCH time on your hands!!!

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

"My point through all of this? The decision for CP3 to stay or go must be made at the beginning of the year. If we trade him, heavily pursue Marcus or a similar highlight reel, offensive minded player in the offseason and let him do his thing. Winning is winning. Losing is losing. As a STH, I don’t care as long as I am entertained." Very good point. I imagine that a lot of people feel the same way. Personally I don't think there's a chance they bring Marcus back. Supposedly he didn't listen to them, and he's just not the type of player that they want as a building block. Right or wrong, it's totally their vision for the future that we are building toward, so I understand why they don't want him back. Westbrook and Harden would be a dream. Can't imagine that happens, but at the same time it not impossible. I view OKC sort of like a fantasy team. So much talent that they can afford to trade a little more than they get back if they get another superstar in return. You can only have 5 guys on the court at a time, and with KD and CP3 they would have the best duo in the league. They complement each other better than wade and Bron, IMO.

L_REAZY
L_REAZY

I've always watched NFL Football, hardcore, in between September & November and then the Playoffs; being that NBA Basketball normally super-seeds any other sport IMO. Obviosuly, this year, NOT THE CASE! ... now its Football 247. I also have went back to watching a tremendous amount of baseball (2011 World Series, Game 6, probably one of the greatest games I've ever watched) & NCAA Football (no offense to LSU, because I think they're the best team, but watch out for OSU & Stanford in the title game!). .... My Point is ... the NBA is great, but can be replaced! I might even watch more NCAA Basketball if the lockout doesn't end soon! L_REAZY

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

I look at nba.com/hornets daily to see our ticket count. Aside from that, it's over when it's over. I'm just watching Saints/LSU for now.

James Online
James Online

Why do you suppose Sacto drafted first at Marcus Thornton's position? Loser.

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

ps. Long time no see. How are you handling the lockout? I sit on pins and needles never too far from a computer, just waiting to talk about non-lockout issues.

thechosenuno
thechosenuno

It feels sooo good to post, and ssooooooooooo much better being only a month or so away from our first game! IMHO, the rank and file players (there are 450 players in the union, and maybe 40-50 "stars," leaving a rank and file of 400 or so) don't give a rat's a** about the things that Stern and Hunter have been haggling over the last two days. All of that crap doesn't affect them. They're not all of the caliber to go sign and play with a big-dog, over-the-tax team. The rank and file are now seeing that they can play 72 games and only miss out on a few checks, and they're going to throw themselves at the chance. The union has been negotiating these last two weeks for the super-elite players, and when this gets put to a vote it's going to be stars vs. rank and file, with rank and file carrying the day.

Tomcat
Tomcat

Sure hope your right. Can't wait to see what happens either way

greenpea
greenpea

i kinda like internet fighting so im looking forward to seeing all this happen. signing west and then trading him and paul for lots of picks and young guys would be really interesting though. Rebuild might only take two years. Better then the alt.

thechosenuno
thechosenuno

I agree. If Chouest buys the team, we have time to rebuild to be a playoff contender. We need to call the Bengals' owner and see what he did to rape the Raiders for draft picks. Hell, if we're going young, dare I even suggest bringing back MT5 and having Monty work him into shape??

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

I don't think it's daring at all to suggest that. I explained rather lengthily below why I think it's the obvious thing to do if we are in rebuilding mode. I fully believe he would earn his contract single-handedly by keeping butts in the seats through a rebuilding mode.

lancebrou68
lancebrou68

damn, havent been here since the lockout started its how i coped with it, but i'd really hate to see CP3 leave

Joe Gerrity
Joe Gerrity

I would be sad and thrilled at the same time. The degree of both would depend on what we got back.