The Hornets Beat: First Edition

Published: July 11, 2011

Welcome to the first edition of Hornets Beat, a complete and utter knockoff of ESPN’s 5-on-5. The format is simple. We take five people who know about the Hornets, be they writers, musicians, comedians, superfans, or whatever, and we ask them five questions. This week we start things off with a bang as potential owner Morris Bart joins us, along with Harvey from Hornets Report, James Grayson from Swarm and Sting, mW from Hornets Hype, and our very own 42.

You can look forward to this feature every Monday morning around 6am central time, and if you can think of any specific questions you want to see tackled, just leave your thoughts in the comment section. Check out ESPN’s 5-on-5 today, as well.

1. Will David West be a Hornet next year?

Morris Bart: I don’t know.  Putting a team together is like putting a puzzle together.  Fortunately, we have a master at putting puzzles together by the name of Dell Demps.

Harvey, Hornets Report: No…with an asterisk.  West has played his entire career in New Orleans.  He has been patient, but that patience has run out.  He has quietly desired a fresh start.  David  is getting older and feels the need to try something new.  Asterisk?  If the Hornets severely over pay, maybe he comes back.

James Grayson, Swarm and Sting: Yes, based on three things. One, we can give him the contract. Two, we can give him the minutes. And three, we can loosely promise him a winning program over competing teams like Indiana and New Jersey.

42, Hornets247: Yes. David West is the highest profile stated target of the Hive Mind. There are not many upgrades over West that the Hornets could net, and he clearly fits the scheme and budget. Also, none of the projected teams that could land West are markedly better on the court than the Hornets in the near-term.

mW, Hornets Hype: Yes. West’s contract made it impractical for him to pick up this season or to extend, but this system is geared toward his strengths, and any team with Chris Paul can win big.

2. Will Carl Landry be a Hornet next year?

Morris Bart: See answer one.

Harvey, Hornets Report: 50/50.  The Hornets certainly want him back…but don’t think we’re the only franchise that will be trying to sign him.  With West likely gone, the Hornets can offer Carl a chance to start…and will probably have some extra money to throw at him.  That’s likely an attractive situation…unless someone brings more minutes and/or money to the table.

James Grayson, Swarm and Sting: I’d like to say yes, but it’s a no. Some team will overpay for him, maybe even Indiana. Carl will go where the money is no matter the CBA situation. Keeping both is Dell’s priority, but it will be tough.

42, Hornets247: No. “Carl Landry” does not flow well over the “length” beats emanating from basketball operations’ drum. The Hornets will spend money on length, and West will cost a couple million more this year than last. Between those costs and the minutes given to the higher-paid West and a longer acquisition, Carl will find other pastures to be greener.

mW, Hornets Hype: No, but he should.  Someone will overpay for Landry and Demps won’t match.  If Landry realizes he is a non-starter, who can dominate second units, he would understand, though, that this is the perfect situation for him.

3. Gary Chouest will (a) be the majority owners before 12/31/2011, (b) be the majority owners before 12/31/2012, or (c) never be the majority owner.

Morris Bart: I believe Gary Chouest is genuinely interested in purchasing the Hornets.  However, from a business stand point – as opposed to a “I love basketball” stand point – the decision to purchase becomes a very difficult and risky one.

Harvey, Hornets Report: Gary Chouest will become the majority owner when the CBA is finalized.

James Grayson, Swarm and Sting: B. It’s likely that there will be a lockout for a large portion of the season and once that’s done there are still a lot of things to be worked out with this franchise. He needs to see a financial framework that will work for his investment because he can’t get a refund as easily as season ticket holders.

42, Hornets247: (c). Mr. Chouest, a long-time billionaire, could have bought the team from the by-NBA-standards cash-strapped Mr. Shinn with a snap of his wealthy fingers at any moment, but he never did, even knowing the silver linings in the cloudy financial books. No CBA will fix what kept him away from majority ownership for years.

mW, Hornets Hype: I can’t give a date, but I expect the announcement that Chouest will buy the team to shortly follow word the lockout is over.

4. Chris Paul is…(pick one or two words to describe him)

Morris Bart: Chris Paul is essential.  Essential to the team, essential to the image of the Hornets, and essential to the community of New Orleans.

Harvey, Hornets Report: “Frustrated warrior.”  Chris is an absolute warrior on the floor….a guy who plays with more heart and passion than anyone else.  Winning drives him…it’s his drug.  Chris is another guy who has spent his entire career with this organization…and he is certainly frustrated.  Chris’s desire to win goes far beyond being a low playoff seed and a 1st or 2nd round out.

James Grayson, Swarm and Sting: Chris Paul is… Audacious. No matter what happens Paul will be an exemplar for fearlessness and a crazed vision for winning. Whether that’s in New Orleans or not we cannot deny that CP is dauntless in his vision for a championship.

42, Hornets247: Nonessential. The Hornets franchise has to shape itself into one that would interest most superstars. In that case, they will choose among the superstars to be had. If we do not change the franchise so, then no superstar, Mr. Paul included, will be part of the team longer than is financially wise given the CBA, bird rights, etc.

mW, Hornets Hype: The savior of basketball in New Orleans.

5. How many season ticket holders will the Hornets start the season with. The goal is 10,000.

Morris Bart: 10,000 season ticket holders!  Why?  Because two years ago we had 10,000 season ticket holders and were ranked number 19 out of the 30 NBA teams in our number of season ticket holders.  The “I’m in” campaign is brilliant, and that combined with a couple of good trades, will get us back to 10,000.

Harvey, Hornets Report: They will eclipse the 10K number.  When the new CBA is done, Chouest will emerge as the owner, confidence in the franchise’s long term future in New Orleans will be established and the fans will buy tickets..  Chouest will buy when the CBA is done…then the tickets will come…interim benchmarks be damned.

James Grayson, Swarm and Sting: 9200. Asking for 10,000, in a lockout, with no owner, five (six including Belinelli) players on their roster, a super star with one foot out the door, is a big request from Jac Sperling and the NBA. However, I think that fans should be proud of their current mark of just under 8500. I don’t think we get too much more, but 9200 is something to be proud of.

42, Hornets247: 10,000. The lockout will stifle interest in the team here, if the CBA is resolved only for next season, sales will not be a problem. If the CBA is resolved this season, I expect businesses that have been sitting idle to dump money into the team. The team and the Hornets Business Council will be driving this effort.

mW, Hornets Hype: The team says it’s already at 8400 season ticket holders, but I don’t see them topping 9500. Although kudos to the Hornets for developing a marketing scheme (“I’m In”) around celebrity fans,  knowing that the lockout will (and now does) preclude using player images.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.