Hornets on the Internets: Back to Basketball Edition

NEW ORLEANS LA - DECEMBER 08: New Orleans Hornets chairman and governor Jac Sperling watches the game between the New Orleans Hornets and the Detroit Pistons at the New Orleans Arena on December 8 2010 in New Orleans Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Your morning (M-F) links. Happy Weary Willy Day.

  • Weary Willy Day is named for the birthday of the legendary clown Emmett Kelly, Sr. Weary Willy was "the perpetual underdog, who never gave up, and because of it, occasionally won." 
  • Let's get in some game coverage before diving into (new) ownership news. First, check Caleb's game recap. Then, spin along to Ryan Schwan's recap at the 247. Last but not least, here's James Grayson's take on the game. Update: Check out the Piston perspective at SBN's Detroit Bad Boys, one of the best team sites out there. 
  • While the win was great, the attendance was, er, not. The total was announced at just over 10,800, a decidedly poor figure. WWL's Bradley Handwerger notes that low attendance won't help the new ownership any. 
  • New Orleans-based attorney Morris Bart is interested in purchasing a 10% share of the team from the NBA. His quote: "I grew up in New Orleans, and I went through the bitterness of the Jazz [leaving]. You've got to have a big fish that can come in and buy 50% and then the minority investors can follow along. I feel the NBA strongly wants to keep the team in New Orleans." Bart also mentions that he knows two other potential NOLA investors interested in buying minority stakes.
  • One potential big fish? Yahoo! co-founder and New Orleans native David Filo. Fletcher Mackel tweeted yesterday (*obligatory throat clearing*) that he's heard his name come up in rumors. Filo grew up in Lake Charles and attended Tulane. Oh, and he's worth $2.9 billion dollars.
  • New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson wants the Hornets to stay in Louisiana but isn't giving any outward signs toward possible future investment in the team. In my understanding, an owner of an NFL franchise may own another professional sports team if that team is (a) located in a city without an NFL team, or (b) located in the city of his own NFL team. Benson would therefore qualify.
  • Monty Williams mentioned yesterday that he believes Gary Chouest could still be the next owner: "From his words, he's not out of the picture. If there's an opportunity for him to get back into it, I think he would jump on it in a minute."
Overall, that's a flurry of rather promising ownership news. Most importantly, we're learning that there are quite a few potential NOLA investors out there. It will still take that one big buyer- a Chouest or a Filo- but the puzzle pieces may fall into place far quicker than the national media has led us to believe. 

Of course, the most important thing right now is the attendance. If we don't meet the January benchmark, a lot of this (apparent) momentum could be stymied. The NBA could make a ton of money moving this team- charging new investors a hefty fee to relocate, moving to a more profitable market, etc. We simply can't afford to give them that option as new NOLA investors begin to emerge. I'll link Matt's "be a booster" story from yesterday for those that may have missed it. 

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A final thought- a few people expressed interest in donating some spare cash towards the purchase of tickets. I'm working right now to set up a system where readers (NOLA or non-NOLA) can chip in some money. We'd then pool the money to buy tickets for maybe a class at a local school (or more, depending how much we get). In terms of absolute numbers, it won't be that huge. But I think it will help in terms of raising overall awareness. I will have more on tomorrow. Thanks to all who have expressed interest thus far.
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