Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
The league is taking over the Hornets. Good for the Hornets? Good for New Orleans? Good for the league?
Steve Aschburner: Good? I wouldn’t say good as in a better course of action than the traditional approach (stable ownership, billionaire boss man’s deep pockets and competitive drive). But this is good compared to the alternative: George Shinn was an embarrassment, New Orleans isn’t vibrant enough economically to support the NBA these days (if ever) and the league is better off serving as the guardian of a forlorn franchise vs. letting it flounder.
Art Garcia: As harsh as this may sound, it beats George Shinn owning the team. League ownership, at this point, provides the Hornets a measure of stability, especially on the financial end, until a new buyer is found. David Stern has long been committed to making it work in New Orleans, so considering the lack of alternatives, this is best solution right now.
Fran Blinebury: It’s good for the Hornets in that it should give them stability and it will be good for New Orleans if the league truly does have the city’s best interest at heart and is willing to be a steward for whatever length of time is necessary to find a local owner. But the cynic in me has my doubts and I believe if the remaining league owners who are financing the deal could make enough of a windfall profit by selling to someone whose intention is to relocate to one of the rings of Saturn … well, laissez les bon temps roulez right out of the Big Easy.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Bad for the Hornets. The move screams instability, with the league a transitional owner and uncertainty ahead at every turn, and the last thing that franchise needs is more instability. It’s a push for New Orleans. No buyer was at the ready who would keep the team there anyway. With attendance lagging, the Hornets may have moved even without the league stepping in.
Shaun Powell: Whenever leagues take over teams, as Major League Baseball did with the Expos, doom is in the forecast. New Orleans, which lacks Fortune 500 companies and corporate dollars, is a tough town for pro sports if you’re not the Saints, who only need to fill the Dome for eight Sundays. As Thelma said to Louise once they were surrounded by cops, something’s about to go down.
John Schuhmann: I guess we’ll find out in a few years. Obviously, something needed to be done to keep the team stable for the time being, because it clearly couldn’t survive under George Shinn’s ownership. It would be great if New Orleans could keep the team in the long run, but if the fans aren’t showing up, there may be a better home for the team somewhere else. Ask me this question again in three years.
Sekou Smith: This is dangerous territory for all involved. When a league steps in and starts working both sides, you’re asking for trouble. (Anyone hoping to land Chris Paul in a trade should go ahead and tear up those plans.) I’m sure there are a million reasons this has to be done and everyone will try and reassure us that it’s for the greater good of the Hornets, New Orleans and the NBA. Too bad it doesn’t feel that way right now.