Ez Street Posted January 7, 2005 Share Posted January 7, 2005 http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/s...an/10566622.htmThe Kansas City Hornets?Yep, that's the latest rumor being whispered around NBA circles, that the New Orleans Hornets might be in line to become the eventual tenant at Kansas City's soon-to-be Sprint Center.The honeymoon between the Hornets, who relocated from Charlotte in 2002, and New Orleans apparently is over.The Hornets are a dreadful bunch, going just 2-27 so far this season and well on pace to break the NBA's futility record held by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1972-73 (9-73).New Orleans sports fans already seem to have bailed on the Hornets, who are drawing just over 14,000 a game ? that ranks 29th in the NBA out of 30 teams.?We've heard a little talk about New Orleans,? Kansas City Sports Commission President Kevin Gray said. ?But you always have to consider the possibility of teams using us for posturing or leverage with their own city. I'm not saying that's the case with New Orleans, but we can expect to be in the middle of some arena battles elsewhere.?New Orleans certainly would fit the profile of a team that would benefit greatly by relocating here. The Hornets play in the New Orleans Arena, which is only 5 years old but is not anywhere near the state-of-the-art condition anticipated for the Sprint Center.And, let's face it. New Orleans has never proven it can handle another pro team other than the Saints. And even the Saints are rumored to be peeking at Los Angeles.?It all comes down to what AEG wants,? Gray said. ?I trust AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group) will make the best decision for what goes into the arena. Until then, there will be a lot of rumors and a lot of conjectures. There's going to be talk about Orlando or Sacramento or New Orleans.?But of course the "It's not true" SPIN is now gearing up!http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/s...ll/10584568.htmNEW ORLEANS ? With 20 seconds left on the clock, most of the fans started toward the exits. The hometown Hornets had fallen again Wednesday night, losing to the Bulls and staying ahead of pace to become the worst team in the history of the NBA.The stands were depressingly barren. Forget empty seats. There were practically empty sections. No one is ready to call the experiment of New Orleans basketball a failure, but these are tough times.?We're now traveling into the heart of darkness,? said Michael Perlstein, a reporter for the local newspaper who is working on an all-access book about the team and owner George Shinn.The lack of success, both on the court and at the box office, has set the rumor mills churning. The latest has the team packing up and moving to Kansas City, where plans are under way to construct a state-of-the-art downtown arena.On Wednesday, vice president of public relations Harold Kaufman knocked down the whispers.?We love New Orleans,? he said. ?Our owner is committed to New Orleans, and our plan is to be here for the long term.?The NBA league office concurred. Deputy commissioner Russ Granik said any talk of moving the Hornets again after just three years is just that ? talk.?I think it would certainly be a little early to become overly concerned,? he said. ?They've got a lease for a serious period of time in New Orleans, and I don't expect there will be any effort to relocate that team.?Granik is aware of Kansas City's desire for an NBA team, and while he wasn't overly optimistic, he didn't nix the idea either.?We'll see,? he said. ?We have talked to the people in behalf of the arena, and we know what's happening there in Kansas City. I don't know what the chances are. It's obviously a long shot, but people are ready to take the risk.?New Orleans is merely the latest team to be associated with Kansas City. It wasn't the first, and, as plans progress on the arena, it certainly won't be the last.Kansas City Sports Commission president Kevin Gray said this week that he also expects to hear conjecture about Orlando and Sacramento being interested in moving to Kansas City.Regardless of whether a move is in their future, the Hornets are struggling. For the second year in a row, the Hornets are next to last in attendance. A quick tour of the all-important luxury suites reveals too many unoccupied. In successful NBA cities, the only suites you can buy come in a wrapper.Not even local rap impresarios, the Cash Money Millionaires, renewed their box from last year. When people who rap about putting 30-inch rims on private jets don't shell out money for the plushest NBA digs, there's a problem.Team officials say they can ? and will ? have success in New Orleans. They point to plans to build a state-of-the-art practice facility next door, as well as community outreach and a long-term lease at the New Orleans Arena. The team's best players are hurt, and certainly the team will get better. With improvement comes fans.That all might be true, but for now, it's more hard times for the Hornets, a team that's a pickup truck away from being a country song.?There's a death watch on whether they can stay in New Orleans,? Perlstein said. ?That's how it is when a team is going through a struggle. Sure, the vultures are going to circle.? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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