Marc J. Spears is reporting that the New Orleans Hornets, a professional basketball organization, are going to change their name to the New Orleans Pelicans. There are a few reasons why they are making this particular move. The Pelicans were a minor league baseball team in New Orleans for decades, so there’s some local history. Also, the other choices were “Brass” or “Krewe,” so at least it could have been worse.
But what this basically boils down to is that there will be a group of professional basketball players called “the Pelicans,” presumably as a way to make the Toronto Raptors feel slightly less dumb, I suppose.
The NBA is set to take over the New Orleans Hornets, making them the first team owned by the league. The team needs a buyer, and since they haven’t found one, the league hopes to stabilize them until somebody else steps up to purchase them. Deadspin released a stash of the club’s financial documents on Tuesday,
Marc Stein has a nice read on the whole situation, since there are multiple big factors at play. The first, and biggest, is whether or not professional basketball could leave the Big Easy. The obvious answer is yes. The area hasn’t shown that it can financially support the Hornets. Going to eight Saints games a season is not the same as 41 home hoops games. It’s entirely possible the team could head to Kansas City, while the Sacramento Kings would remain the long-term goal for bringing basketball to Las Vegas. There’s the secondary issue of Chris Paul, the team’s superstar, who can opt out in 2012 but has already expressed a (now-quieted) desire to move. Though he might still dream of pairing up with another All Star in a bigger city, he isn’t going to be moved while the league owns the team; can you imagine the furor if a team essentially owned by the commissioner handed one of the game’s elite players to a franchise like New York?
It is, ultimately, a sad state of affairs. In 2008, when the team was contending for a championship and Paul was an MVP candidate, they lost more than $6 million dollars. With a potential lockout looming, Paul’s status uncertain, the ownership situation muddled and empty arenas, it’s an altogether nightmarish scene for the employees and fans of the organization.