42 Seconds: Weighing a Purchase

Published: October 8, 2011

The New Orleans Hornets are for sale, and since these franchises don’t come up for sale too often, I need to think about this while I have the chance; it’s now or never. With the NBA considering contraction, there’s no way expansion is going to give me a clean slate to work with anytime soon. Therefore, it’s the Hornets, and the mess that I’ve read about for years, or nothing. I suppose the Hornets may even be nothing if there is a contraction . . . is this even worth the trouble . . . I wish I had a smaller house so I’d be closer to my coffeemaker . . . why didn’t I just stop at $10M like a sensible person . . .

Billionaires have already tried to buy this team and were rejected. I’m not a billionaire, so can I really succeed where they failed? There are only about 1,200 billionaires in the world . . . why would I succeed where they failed? Why bother? I have my group together, and we are a billionaire collectively, so that’s helps. They say the first billion is the hardest. Why even get into this if a billionaire can outbid me with on a whim? I’ve got to get everyone else to agree with upping our bids, and these guys with $100M to their name may not have the stomach for the kind of investment this may require. I’m not billionaire, but I can lose $100M and not be broke.

The franchise is going to cost $350M-$400M. My share will be $175M – $200M. That’s almost have of what I’m worth. Sure, the house is paid for, the kids are through college, and I’m more than comfortable, but losing $100M is not my idea of fun and will cost me a lot more than $100M, starting with the therapy if nothing else.

I’ve failed in business before, but failing doesn’t bother me. I learned from those mistakes. If this is a mistake, however, everyone I do business with will see it. I’ll get the blame, too, no doubt about that, since I’m the leader here, or at least am writing the biggest check. What will that cost me in my 9-5 operation? What will that cost me at the club? Will I ever be able to talk basketball while I golf again?

I can’t focus on the failure . . . where’s my big mug?

I may not be one of the 1,200 billionaires in the world, but I can be one of 30 owners, sort of. That’s worth a lot.

Or is it? Milk’s still good . . .

Teams have been selling like crazy. 22 of 30 teams are losing money. Not everyone believes that, but do I really want to get into this if that’s being said by the NBA itself? Even if it is just a tactic? Can I take that chance?

Why am I even doing this . . . oooh, that is good coffee . . . Kenya AA . . . more like AAA . . . that’s better, I think . . . it is for my bonds . . . one more sugar . . . Owning a team is cool. It’s prestigious, too. That’s what got me thinking about initially, in fact. I just have to be able to make some money one way or another. I can’t go through all the trouble just t get the privilege to lose money.

Some people are really excited about the NBA here, so there is potential for huge success. It’s not like it is with the Saints, of course.

Oh, the Saints. They’re maxed out on tickets. The after-market markup on tickets may affect us, but in the end, their situation being stable actually helps me make this decision. I’m not sure what I’d do if their situation wasn’t so stable. So competition helps me here . . . this is crazy . . . what sort of business is this?

The Mayor and Governor say a keeping the team local is a big deal. They say I’ll be helping to attract business and improve the image of New Orleans and Louisiana. I’m happy to do that . . . I’m civic-minded . . . but at what cost? But if it helps them, then they need to kick in, period.

Did I just say that I need to work with the government? Check that . . . Governments. Is the parish involved? The LSED is involved. SMG. Stop counting the parties, it’s too painful. How many politicians are going to be poking around if I do this? How many more will I have to deal with to get the deal done?

Why am I doing this? I can make money in other ways. That’s how the first $500M got into my account to start with, after all. So why do this?

Because it’s cool? Help the city and state? I help them every time I pay tax, my company pays tax, my employees pay tax.

Oh, another 150 employees. A precious handful of them are high dollar union employees that demand constant attention . . . and a CBA. Speaking of, unless they really change things, I just don’t see winning a title in the cards. I just need to forget that for now.

Which brings me to the Paul kid: I can’t count on him sticking around. He’s everywhere but may not help out the bottom line at the bank or in the record book. This decision needs to be made too soon.

Another 150 employees. Another 150 people counting on me. Another 150 people I can put out on the street if I let them down. Another 150 lawsuits waiting to happen.

If I only had more time . . . If I only knew what this lockout was going to do . . .

So it’s cool. I’m left with it’s cool. What else is there? Prestige?

I deserve something cool. I’ve worked hard my whole life. I deserve something nice. Now I sound like an entitled buffoon. I have tons of nice stuff. I do need another coffeemaker though . . . one closer to the office . . . .

So, I’m doing this because I want to? There’s no other good reason?

What do I want? Do I want it enough? $200M enough? All that aggravation enough? The one coffeemaker forces me to walk more . . . that’s a help . . .


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