So far, the popular reaction to the Hornets’ takeover seems to be that if when the NBA buys the Hornets, the management’s hands will be tied and the team will be in terrible bind, akin to a torrential downpour when the water’s already high on the levees. Not necessarily. While the reality is that the obligations of the NBA will likely be contractual, at a base minimum, the NBA will have a fiduciary responsibility to treat the Hornets as if they were an impartial owner, and as if winning a championship was all that mattered. To be any less would violate the integrity of the sport and may even be illegal. This is why the NBA has hired a hockey executive, Jac Sperling, to run the team on an interim basis: the NBA needs someone who can be seen as impartial and honest, yet driven to succeed, and who’s capable of succeeding. And as a bonus, for us, he’s a New Orleans native.
The other issue is the potential conflict of interest between the NBA and its collective group of owners having a piece of the Hornets. By default, the other owners want the Hornets to fail, as, inversely, they all want their own teams to succeed. Yet, the NBA must avoid the appearance of any impropriety. So not only do I believe Sperling will be authorized to make his own independent decisions about the Hornet’s finances–without having to consult the NBA–but I would assume the NBA is prohibited from influencing his decisions. Sperling will have to make his decisions based on what is best for the team, because, ultimately, that is what will make the Hornets more marketable, and hence, sellable.
So when if Dell Demps tells Sperling that he wants to move David Anderson and the team’s full trade exemption for Melo in a sign and trade, I think Sperling doesn’t blink. I believe that if Demps wants to trade Banks, Green, and Mbenga for Iguodala and his massive contract, Sperling will have the ability to sign off on it. Whatever comes to the table, Sperling will have to make based on what is best for the team, and no other consideration. Demps is likely not done tinkering, and it seems that the last trade with Toronto was really just setting the table for another trade before the deadline. Sperling is used to building a winner; I don’t see him wanting to do anything different here. Besides, who doesn’t believe Stern wants to hand himself the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of year?
As for all us Hornets fans? We can’t sweat it. What we need to do is keep buying tickets to games. We fill seats through the end of the year and all the talk of moving the franchise is moot, as we’ll be locked in for several more years. By then, we win a championship, the city and state won’t let us leave, and hordes of locals will be fighting for the right to buy the team. Also, after his retirement, CP3 is voted governor by 99% of the popular vote. Right? Right. All right then.