Hopefully you had an excellent Fourth, full of barbecues, fireworks, and other freedom-based carbon emissions. The big news this morning is the sudden seriousness of the Bower to New Jersey rumors. Let's go straight to Adrian Wojnarowski, who somehow knows more about the Hornets than the entire Times-Picayune staff combined:
After receiving permission to talk to New Orleans general manager Jeff Bower, New Jersey Nets officials met with him on Saturday to discuss the team's vacant GM job, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
No offer was extended, sources said...
Bower is believed to have two years left on his contract with the Hornets, but a stalled ownership change and the franchise's financial strife have made for turbulent times within the organization. Bower has deep roots in the Northeast, and league sources believe he's intrigued.
However, Bower appears to have some stiff competition for the job within the Nyets organization:
Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks has also gained strong traction and internal support to succeed Thorn, sources said.
While I'm not particularly enamored of Bower, he's still likely better than anybody else the Hornets could hire without an owner. I'm not sure what to think or feel about the issue, really.
Next, we'll look at a remarkable Times-Pic article about statements made by Hugh Weber regarding the Hornets' offseason strategy. He started off by unequivocally stating that Chris Paul will be a Hornet at the start of the 2010-11 season:
"No question, yes," Weber said, responding to a question whether he thought, 100 percent, that Paul would be in New Orleans for the start of the season.
The author of the piece then begins to discuss... something... about the Shinn-Chouest ownership transfer:
With the eventual transferal of ownership from George Shinn to Gary Chouest slowed dramatically by the involvement of Chouest's primary business, Edison Chouest Offshore, in the cleanup of the massive Gulf oil catastrophe, uninformed speculation regarding the collapse of the sale, and potential economic ramifications on the franchise, continues to be disseminated.
That's a rather jumbled sentence, but it appears to say that Edison Chouest's involvement in the cleanup is causing delays in the ownership transfer, but that the sale has not yet collapsed. However, that's probably not the only way to read that sentence. I could be entirely wrong; that's a tough jumble of words to decode.
"We will be active," Weber of the Hornets' free-agency plans. "It's funny, it's just like last summer where we'll move and you'll see some changes on this roster. You look at those teams who have a lot of cap space, they're no closer to winning a championship than we are.
"In fact, they're probably farther away because they're in more of a rebuilding process. We've got two All-Stars, we have a system and a coach, we have a philosophy and an infrastructure that's already in place. You'll see us make some moves and changes, but again it will be something that will progress over time."
Interesting argument that Weber is making. I guess you could say that the Hornets are closer to winning a championship than the Bulls or Heat, but I'd be willing to say that may not be the case this time next week. However, the Hornets will always be closer to winning a championship than the Knicks.
However, it's nice to see that the Hornets plan to be active in free agency. That should make for an entertaining July.