Wednesday, 08 December 2010 09:20
Will Chris Paul Stay With The Hornets, With Or Without New Orleans?
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Now that the NBA owns and controls the Hornets, what does that mean for Chris Paul?

He won’t be traded while the league is in possession of the franchise. Thereafter, his future will depend on the identity of the next owner and the site of the Hornets' home.

A wealthy owner in an attractive market could entice Paul to remain a Hornet for the remainder of his career. In that sense, Paul could remain with the Hornets for the  longtime. The real question is whether the team will remain in New Orleans.

The NBA owners just shelled out $300 million to make George Shinn go away and the goal now is to sell the team and maybe turn a little profit. You can't do that without Paul, under contract. He is the gate draw, the face of marketing the team, their best player and the guy others want to play with.

As Tom Ziler notes at SBNation. you can sell an NBA team without Paul on it -- look at the bargain  basement prices Mikhail Prohorov got for the Nets and Michael Jordan got for the Bobcats. But the NBA is looking a big score on this sale, and to do that Paul has to be part of the package.

In the longterm?  Nobody knows. Paul has the remainder of this season and next on his current deal. He wants to play for a winner because he knows he'll get max money (whatever that is under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement) where he goes.

Could this sale and the limbo it leaves the team in let Paul to go Carmelo Anthony next summer and push for a trade? Yes. Could play out his contract and go to the Knicks? Yes. Does what David West might do when he becomes a free agent this summer play into it? Yes. Are there about 200 other scenarios that could play out not listed here? Yes.

Which is to say anything longterm can happen. But for now, for the remainder of this season and into the summer at least, CP3 is a Hornet and that's not changing.

Hugh Weber

News release from Hornets president Hugh Weber:

The Hornets family announced on Monday that the NBA will move forward with the purchase of 100 percent of our franchise. This is a positive move for the Hornets and assures stability and adequate funding for our team.

We are confident that we are building our organization into a best-in-class franchise, and we are developing a philosophy that is focused on winning, performing at the highest levels and using our resources to make a difference in the community in which we live and work.

George Shinn has been an exceptional owner for the franchise throughout the 22 years the Hornets have been in existence, and Gary Chouest has been extremely supportive as minority owner over the last few seasons. We plan to continue to build upon the culture they created. Our team will remain focused on two main goals:

We will continue to build a legacy in the local community by maintaining a championship-caliber team on the 
    court and through our numerous community initiatives off the court. We will continue to develop a path and plan for a local owner to bring an NBA Championship to New Orleans 
    and the state of Louisiana.

We have a strong working partnership with the NBA, and they understand and support our business and basketball philosophies. We have a talented staff in place working toward a common goal, and we will continue to get better.

Our focus remains to create fun, exciting and memorable experiences; build a legacy in the community with integrity and passion and serve as global ambassadors for our hometown of New Orleans. Your continued support is crucial to the overall success of our franchise, now more than ever.

We are proud to call New Orleans home, and look forward to building on the momentum of this exciting season!

THE Hornets were already in hock to the NBA before the league took over. Tommy Craggs of notes the team's operating income, which in 2008 was  a $6.4 million loss and in 2009 was a $5.9 million gain though the latter figure includes $3.4 in revenue assistance from the NBA, and the team's net cash in operating activities, which represents the "measurement of money owner George Shinn is being asked to take out of his pocket to keep operations going. In 2008 that amount was $7.4 million, in 2008, $1.4 million. Things got much more problematic for the franchise the following year. Also of note: As of June, 2009, the partners' deficit totaled $83 million. The team's share of broadcast payment was $26 million in 2008 and $28 million in 2009, And in 2008, the Hornets were told they had received revenue-sharing money in error for the 2005-06 season -- $2.8 million...

by Ed Staton

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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