It looks like George Shinn (rumored for years to be one of the worst owners in the NBA) is out of $$ and looking to get out from under the New Orleans (formerly Charlotte) Hornets.
Whenever an NBA (or NHL) team shows any signs of weakness in their ownership group or attendance figures, Kansas City is instantly mentioned as a relocation candidate. Could the NBA New Orleans Hornets relocate the Kansas City and be the anchor tenant for Sprint Center?
Well, the Kansas City media, especially the sports talk show hosts, are certainly all a twitter over this development. One sports talk show host said he thought there would be a better than 50% chance of the Hornets moving to Kansas City if the Board of Governors approves purchasing the franchise. His producer said better than 65% chance. As Lee Corso says on College Gameday, “NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND.”
Look. It’s possible that the NBA wants to get out of New Orleans to another market. It’s possible the NBA Board of Governors or David Stern or some potential owner somewhere has an affinity for Kansas City.
I just wouldn’t get too excited about it.
1.) There is no owner. If and when the NBA Board of Governors approves the league’s purchase of the franchise, the NBA BOG is NOT going to move the team while they own it. That won’t happen and you know why? Because they wouldn’t be able to collect a relocation fee. Clay Bennett paid a $30M relocation fee to move out of Seattle and into OKC. There you go, 30 million reasons why the NBA BOG won’t move the team while they own it.
2.) David Stern may be following the model established by his protege, Gary Bettman. Bettman has successfully had his league purchase three franchises, shore them up, look for an owner for that market and kept those franchises in those cities. He did it in Ottawa. He did it in Buffalo. He is doing it now in Phoenix (success of Phoenix still pending but looks like Matt Hulsizer will buy the franchise and sign a new lease in Glendale)
3.) Does AEG WANT an anchor tenant? They sure do beat us amongst the head about how successful Sprint Center is
I just don’t see it. The Seattle SuperSonics left Seattle because they were in an antiquated arena and an Oklahoman purchased the franchise from the Starbucks guy. Then, he took his ball and went back home. Bill Laurie, yeah…remember him, originally wanted to buy the Grizzlies and openly said he would move them to St. Louis, where he owned the Blues at the time. The NBA rejected that offer. Michael Heisley bought the team and said he would keep the franchise in Vancouver. Attendance was horrible after the NBA lockout and the NBA granted Heisley’s request to move to Memphis and the new FedEx Arena. (and Heisley paid a $30M relocation fee, too)
I mention these relocated franchises because both had owners that WANTED to move to other markets. Not the Board of Governors, but actual guys who owned the teams.
My feeling is that it isn’t going to happen. It’s certainly not going to happen for the 2011-2012 NBA season and I doubt it happens at all. We’ll see who is right.
Of course, there isn’t anybody out there that is going to say, “Hey, that PucKChaser guy’s blog is pretty good. He seems to be able to discuss the subject more rationally than anyone else…”
Baseless speculation fills the hours of sports talk after college football season is over, I suppose…