With changes at the top of the Hornets hierarchy, more were sure to follow . . .
Hornets fans have had a steadily increasing number of events that are positive on their face, even moreso when their resonance is accounted for, but, as I am fond of saying, everything has a cost.
From the bottom it looks like a steep incline
From the top, another downhill slop of mine
But I know the equilibrium’s there.
– Falling to Pieces, Faith No More
Today, the organization parted ways with Hugh Weber and Jac Sperling, as reported by The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Dennis Lauscha will be president of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Hornets. Mickey Loomis will add oversight of Basketball Operations to his role of head of Football Operations in the appropriate organizations.
The President acts as a proxy owner in all aspects of a franchise’s activities. The President will check with the owners when appropriate, but that’s the only person they answer to. The Head of Basketball Operations is similar, but he reports to the President rather than the owner and focuses on on-the-court stuff and associated activities. So, contracts fall into this scope while ticket sales do not, related as the one may be to the other at times.
Jac was a product of NBA ownership and was not with the organization before that era and did not remain after in any practical sense. As it should be.
Regardless: Thanks, Jac. And thanks to your family. You were always a pleasure to talk to, and your work will be appreciated for generations.
For those that don’t know, Jac acted as the NBA ownership’s representation. He’s worked in sports (Predators, Wild), and has some legal and financial background. He did a great job (for us, the NBA, and Tom), and he was really committed to getting us to this point (local ownership, medium-to-long-term lease). He never had a problem talking to me, remembered me and our talks, and took what we do here at Hornets247 seriously, to the point of talking about our articles in meetings. I, therefore, would like to thank him not only personally as a fan and a local, but also as a writer. I’m sure I’m not the only one that Jac impressed with his work, either.
Hugh has been criticized heavily, perhaps justly, perhaps not, perhaps both, but one thing is for sure: Hugh worked hard to give this team the best possible shot to stay in New Orleans once the NBA bought the team. Prior to that, who knows what the `mission’ was, but from that point on, he knew he was going to be done (reasoned speculation on my part) either way. He could have left the office at 4 every day and got his fill of local food while he could, or he could work late every night, interact with fans constantly, and polish up this franchise so we could enjoy it here after he was gone.
He chose the latter.
Thanks, Hugh. For a team president and a guy with a tie, you were pretty easy to talk to and always at least pretended to laugh at my jokes. Your tireless efforts in the homes of New Orleans may be some of the most important events in New Orleans sports history.
The Times-Picayune goes on to say that Monty and Dell seem to be in the plans for the coming year and that no other front office changes seem imminent. They also indicate in the same article that a rebrand may be one season away.
Besides the above, there was a large meeting at the Saints’ Indoor Practice Facility this morning, presumably to orient people to the new regime. Friends of Hornets247 indicate that Saints and Hornets ticket sales will be working side-by-side. What this means for employment of individuals, staff sizes, etc., we don’t know. It could be a consolidation or they could take on new work. The Hornets’ sales team may become more like the Saints’ sales team or vice versa. Or neither. Time will tell, but the idea of separate organizations seems to have likely been outlasted by the eggs sardou on the day of the grand opening. Look for more `togetherness’.
In the end, more people who worked very hard to help keep this team here will lose their jobs. That is quite sad, but, again, it had to be seen coming. It’s a rough business, one with high turnover. Those facts do not make getting a pink slip any easier and may not do justice to the sacrifices some made. They were appreciated, for what that is worth, and thank again, especially those who will be looking for employment next.
So happy together . . .
We’ll keep you posted of other such changes, but make no mistake about it . . .
Ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers
– Arius Didymus, on Heraclitus