Hornets on the Internets

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The internets are abuzz about the Hornets off-season dealings, so let's see what all the hubbub is about. Right out of the chute, the big news (hey, news can be completely unsurprising) from neworleans.com is that Peja is not going to opt out of his contract.

Stojakovic is due to make $15.336 million in 2010-2011. That is simply too much for the veteran forward to consider opting out. Stojakovic enters his 13th season this fall.

The Greek team Panathinaikos had expressed some interest in signing Stojakovic but Peja's agent says it will not happen.

Not a huge shocker. We'll still have Peja heads running around the Hive for the foreseeable future.

Moving right along:

The Times-Pic reports that the Hornets and Monty Williams are set to introduce their shiny new fleet of assistant coaches today:

New Orleans Hornets coach Monty Williams is expected to announce on Wednesday the hiring of assistants Michael Malone, Bryan Gates and James Borrego, according to sources. The Hornets issued a release on Tuesday that a news conference is scheduled for Wednesday at the Alario Center.

We already profiled Mike Malone, and we'll be working overtime to get details on Bryan Gates (2-time D-League Coach of the Year) and James Borrego (former Spurs assistant and Grants, NM enthusiast).

Finally, we'll take a little look at some ownership speculation. Obviously, the supposedly imminent transfer of ownership from George Shinn to Gary Chouest has been held up. I've thought that it's probably due to the sudden shut-down of Chouest's company, Edison Chouest, in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon spill and the Obama Administration's subsequent ban of drilling activities in the Gulf. The Daily Comet of Lafourche reports on the impact that the decision to shut down drilling had on Edison Chouest:

Tenants at Port Fourchon expect to lay off as much as 60 percent of their workforce if a ban on new deepwater drilling stands for six months, the port director said Friday, citing an internal report.

Edison Chouest Offshore could lay off as many as 1,000 local workers and lose $330 million as early as Tuesday, said Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph.

The layoffs are a clear indicator that the company is not doing well in the wake of the oil drilling ban. Obviously the tragedy in the Gulf is a matter that is far more important than basketball, and I don't want us to discuss the politics of the drilling ban. But there is a court case that might have a significant impact on the Hornets ownership picture. Bloomberg News has the details:

A New Orleans federal judge lifted the six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling imposed by President Barack Obama following the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Drilling services shares jumped on the news.

Obama temporarily halted all drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet on May 27 to give a presidential commission time to study improvements in the safety of offshore operations. More than a dozen Louisiana offshore service and supply companies sued U.S. regulators to lift the ban. The U.S. said it will appeal the decision.

This injunction might not be long for this world – the judge who made the ruling failed to disclose a fairly substantial conflict of interest. He had several thousand dollars worth of shares in energy companies directly affected by the ruling. Nonetheless, the quick appeal by the U.S. Government means that we might see a final ruling on this in a little over a week, according to Business Week. Were the federal appeals court to uphold the injunction (in other words, end the ban), then Edison Chouest would presumably resume its massive money-printing operation, and Gary Chouest would have an easier time bu ying the Hornets. If the drilling ban is upheld, then the strange ownership limbo in which the Hornets are currently mired might continue for some time.

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