Hornets Hype

In a basement. In our pajamas.

We are three games into the Second Tyson Era.  We have three wins to show for it, and three monster performances from Mr. Chandler, who wants to show you, Jeff Bower, and the world that he still has it.  As for Chris Paul and David West, two superstars who were vocally opposed to his departure and even more vocally ecstatic about having Tyson back?  Monster games in his absence (albeit, due to injury, but nonetheless after word of the trade was made public), to show the world that with the team on their backs they would carry it.

Mr. Shinn.  Help us win.  A lot.But with Tyson back on the floor?  We have a young core of Paul, West, and Chandler.  Three against the world.  Add to that a savvy, sharp-shooting veteran in Peja Stojakovic, and a resurgent Rasual Butler hitting from everywhere and an aggressive defender.  Not to mention former-starter Morris Peterson coming off the bench alongside the roughshod championship swagger of James Posey.  This has not only the makings of a championship team, but a dynasty team.  Coach Scott has gotten this team playing well together and they have great chemistry on and off the field.  Moreover, they are all well-known as good people, who stay out of trouble, and contribute to their community.

So I ask you, Mr. Shinn: what will it take to keep this team together?  Tell them.  Tell us.  We know that as of right now, the team salary will be over the luxury tax next year.  Fine.  So how much money do you need to make to make it worth your while?  Throw down the gauntlet.  What if the team makes the second round of the Playoffs?  How much more income would that bring you?  The Western Conference Finals?  The NBA Finals?  What would it take?  Tell the team.  Challenge them.  You might be surprised.

How about us?  The Fans?  We’re already averaging above 97% seat capacity at home games.  What more can we do?  Should the dollar beers at the pre-game Buzzfest cost two dollars?  Are we not buying enough merchandise?  Chris Paul’s merchandise is the fourth most popular League-wide.  Is it because we haven’t bought more Butler jerseys?  Should we have bought matching shorts?  T-shirts?  Is buying two drinks inside the arena instead of three doing it?  Tell us.

Playoff Crowd?  Again, and again, and again.I think you’d find that the people of New Orleans have embraced the Hornets and have come to love them as one of their own, as if they were born and raised here.  That’s just the kind of city this is.  So maybe you should talk to us.  All of us.  Don’t just implode the team that you and Mr. Bower and Coach Scott have so masterfully built just because we started a little slow this year.  We understand there are fiscal realities, but look how long Denver gave Iverson and Anthony to gel before calling it quits.   Prove your critics wrong by showing you have what it takes to be a championship owner.  But if you want, put some of the onus on us.

I know that, personally, I’d do whatever it takes to keep our core together.  I love these guys.  I believe they will win this city a championship.  Maybe even more than one.  The NBA is prone to having multi-championship winners once a team evolves to that level of play.  And, honestly, who else would you rather build a winner around than Chris Paul?  He and this team are your future investment.  They will bring the returns you’re looking for.  They just need the chance.

So while we will root for the Hornets rabidly, knowing this could be their last year together, knowing that the summer could bring a heart-breaking roster implosion, and we expect the guys to play like it’s their last year together and give 141%, we ask you again: what will it take to keep this team together?

You told us all to have Passion, Purpose, and Pride.  We do.  Our team does.  But do you?  Or is it just about the almighty dollar?

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13 Responses to “Dear Mr. Shinn: Tell Us What It Takes”

  1. I can’t believe they raised ticket prices. It’s killing me that they would do this at this point in time.

  2. To keep the team together, I will even fork over the $300 more that my seats will cost next year. Oh wait, except I’m going to put down the deposit and they’ll blow it up for money anyway. It’s depressing.

  3. There’s a problem getting accurate numbers from the NBA that is roughly on par with prying financial plans from the Catholic Church in New Orleans. With the church, I suspect it’s just eons of sworn secrecy that the hierarchy protects as an automatic reflex, and the hierarchy’s idea that THEY know better. With the NBA, since the teams are not on level financial playing fields to the degree that NFL franchises share the wealth, economics need to be kept closely guarded because to open the books too much can mean giving your rivals a competitive edge.

    I found it interesting that Hornets President Hugh Weber responded to swirling accusations regarding the stability of the team by stating: the financial strength of the team is the best it’s been since coming to New Orleans. He specifically mentioned that neither Hornets owner is facing investment pressures tied to the bad stock market or all those troubled banks. He made this point after all the speculation about salary dumping and emergency NBA loans to say that the Hornets aren’t in that perilous number where Bill Simmons keep trying to dump us. Weber swears we ain’t doing the bankruptcy tango, and I have reason to take him at his word.

    I have some journalist friends who tell me that because of Mr. Chouest’s deep pockets in the maritime trade, there is very little chance of the Hornets leaving Louisiana anytime soon (they can’t because the lease is now ironclad thru 2014, with only a practice facility as a potential sticking point). As I understand it, the state of Louisiana could be stuck with giving bonuses to the Hornets in some of these upcoming years on the lease should attendance drop below thresholds (however, the early out clause no longer applies), but it seems that the best business decision is to pursue winning rather than a bailout for a crappy team. Winning teams exponentially increase revenue: more TV appearances, more gear sold, more concessions sold per game, more sponsors, etc.

    Winning teams also carry higher ticket prices. The Hornets really facilitated fan involvement these two years by keeping their prices near the most affordable in the NBA. I heard a fan on the radio upset that his lower bowl CP3 seat, which was far and away the cheapest lower bowl seat in the league, has now gone up again. Even with the hike, I’d be willing to bet that his seat still will hover below the league average, even though our arena seats about 1,500 fewer folks would be ideal.

    Sure, we can say that incomes in New Orleans aren’t quite as high as in most NBA markets; we can quickly point out that with tremendous rate hikes in insurance that it’s a lot more expensive to live down here; we can worry that N.O. hasn’t quite become as rabid a sellout arena as Sacramento enjoyed during their C-Web, Vlade, Bibby, and Peja heyday; we can worry about all the problems with what happens if tourism trends down for New Orleans; the list of pessimism can go on & on. All I can say is that I’m about to open a new small business in New Orleans, and I believe that people are more dedicated to the pleasures and amazing features surrounding us than ever before… and that does include support for the Hornets!

    I know the whole Tyson deal was a shock, and there is a pretty long list of Shinn trading great players before their time. I don’t want to see what happened to Pete Maravich happen to Chris Paul. I guess it’s apples and oranges to some degree since the Jazz were an expansion franchise, whereas the Hornets had been in the playoffs for over a decade before the CP era, and this New Orleans edition is poised to go higher than any Hornets team. Pistol never had a playoff team here. It’s obvious in this modern free agency era, that just being a decent playoff team won’t be enough for Chris Paul; it’ll take an ongoing opportunity to win it all that keeps CP and all our core guys here. I thought it was crazy to think that Tyson wasn’t in that core, but maybe it took all this to shake TC out of his distracted funk and ailing feet. We need him playing as an energy beast to win, period, just as much as CP or DX need to be healthy and ballin’ for the Hornets to be legit.

    I’m also with you that owners can talk to us. To me, it seems we need that final 10% more attendance on a full-time basis; we fans need to keep spreading the hoops gospel across the New Orleans region; and let’s see if this team can survive this playoff push with enough momentum to wreak havoc. Whether they do or not this year, I still think we have the talent to be a major force if we keep our Big Three: Paul, West, and Chandler. If Mr. Shinn notices from the Saints’ recent sellout streak, sports fans in New Orleans will step up if we know the team is serious about winning. Don’t threaten or cajole us, just let us know how we can fight together to survive the unexpected drop in the luxury tax that could unfairly penalize the team. Tell us what are new goals are to maintain our push to the championship. Rip off our new President and push us to prove “Yes we can!” for our future as a NBA city.

    You know tt6, it’s rarified air up here on the ledge of basketball nirvana. It can be so easy to panic and not to fall, but to just get worried you could fall, and so voluntarily shimmy down a level or two to where it’s enough just to get to the playoffs regularly. I still haven’t come down from the our not-quite-good-enough ledge earlier, although I did really enjoy Mardi Gras much more after crushing the Magic! My eyes are still on the basketball nirvana ledge, way up higher, and all I want is the chance to savor this team’s arduous climb to the top.

  4. @ chefcdb: fantastic post. I’m with you. I think for some people it wasn’t the fact that they are raising ticket prices, but that they announced it at the same time as the Tyson trade.

    Another stupid aspect of the recent Bill Simmons article was suggesting the fans of this city abandoning the team. I mean, if we’ve supported the “A’ints” for so long, why would we abandon this winning team (even without Tyson). Besides, Cheis Paul could fill the Arena on his own.

  5. You know what would kick ass if the city of new orleans could buy the hornets and it’ll be like the Greenbay Packers.. where the city owns the ball club… wishful thinking though… Got my tickets for the Denver game at the end o the month… WAAA HOOOOO! I’m from BTR and i sure as hell don’t want em to go..

  6. Stern would never ever allow that.

  7. YoungFella says:

    I was ready to abandon the team after the Tyson trade. That wasn’t false bravado or empty threatening on my end.

    I can tolerate incompetent talent evaluation, bad coaching, poor execution on the field of play. Like everybody else in this city, I was raised a Saints fan and have been a proud owner of my very own Saints season tickets since I was 17 years old and a senior in high school. Subway sandwich artist sitting in the cheap seats, byatch.

    But seriously, I cannot tolerate an owner lying to fans and breaking up a fun, likable, and winning team simply for financial reasons. Bill Simmons has my back on that – that’s a legitimate excuse to bail on a franchise. If the Hornets need to rebuild than that’s fine. I will tolerate that. Do it right though… trade DX and Tyson for lottery picks and expiring deals. Shed bad contracts starting at next season’s trade deadline and surround CP3 with young stars in time for us to be good again before his next contract is up and he decides to opt out.

    But don’t sign overpriced free agents that we obviously can’t afford. Don’t sell off 1st round draft picks (those low salaries and energetic bench players are the freaking LIFEBLOOD of good franchises) for short-term band-aids to long-term problems. Don’t trade a top 10 young Center for two sacks of shit and no draft picks when the Thunder had 4 extra first rounders sitting around. And don’t lie to my face at the Season Ticket Holder’s lunch last month and say that you’d never break up this young nucleus. Don’t tell us not to worry, that the Hornets are doing better than they ever have financially since the 1990’s.

  8. YoungFella says:

    … you squint eyed, bible thumping, leprechaun hick.

    (i finished my thoughts in a new post so you could delete it without losing the gist of my message!)

  9. Oh no, you go right ahead. No deletion here.

  10. I thought he looked kinda like bush…….it’s the G W clone

  11. NOEngineer says:

    Thanks for expounding on a theme I’ve been pounding on since the trade-edart. Nothing will increase the value of the investment that is the New Orleans Hornets like a successful title run, both in short-term cash flow and long-term capital appreciation. I’ve always thought that management of any business should be open with their customers and investors. As pointed out earlier, when we renew our tickets in March, we have a significant (for us, not George) financial investment in the following year’s team, in addition to the emotional investment we all make. If we find out in February or July that some of our key assets have been given away, we feel betrayed. Don’t make us angry. You won’t like us when we’re angry…..

    By the way, thanks for not deleting. It’s nice to read a good !!!FUCK!!! when called for…..

  12. We try not to censor ourselves or others here. But at the same time, with particular posts, we have goals. Here, we’re trying to engage the Hornets, to put whoever’s in charge of monitoring things like this, that there is an angry, but not inconsolable fan base.

    People of this city want to support the Hornets, and are each willing to do their distributed share. I think we just hope the team’s front office is just as committed as us. If not, any such person, be it the GM, the PR girl, or the owner, should step aside. As the people are effectively the shareholders, they need to be respected.

  13. Charles Cole says:

    It’s hilarious to check in on the New Orleans Hornets after over a year only to find that you guys are still wildly defending yourselves against all attacks, both real and imagined. What a joke that Shinn tried to unload Chandler — do you think that speaks to his committment? And yet, in the middle of this cataclysmic economy, I find an article still begging to throw money at Chairman Shinn. Are you guys that retarded? That was rhetorical, no need to reply. Shinn and New Orleans — a match made in heaven. Until he leaves…

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