Hornets Hype

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Archive for the ‘ Hornets Family ’ Category

Help Hornets Hype Buy The Hornets

By on December 5, 2010

By now, the rumors are everywhere.  The Hornets ownership situation is in chaos.  George Shinn wants out.  Gary Chouest wants out.  Maybe the NBA wants in?  Perhaps this is why the Times Picayune dug up the little nugget warning folks that if the Hornets don’t average 14,214 in attendance through the end of the year, the team can pay a $10 million exit fee and walk.  No big deal with either Shinn or Chouest involved: Shinn doesn’t have the extra $10M and Chouest has no incentive in moving away from his home.  But if some billionaire from St. Louis, Seattle, or Kansas City wants in, that $10 may be chump change.  So what’s a fan to do?

Buy the team.

That’s right.  It’s not that hard.  Hornets Hype will incorporate and start selling shares in a private stock offering.  Fellow #twittersection friend, @snavetrebor, correctly points out that all it takes is 17,000 investors willing to pay $17,000 each.  Symmetry.  I like it.  So what say you, folks, want to own an NBA team?

It’s the American way; the power of many accomplish what individuals alone cannot.  Plus, there’s no reason, if y’all want, that you can’t buy more than one share.  Spend $34,000 and you get two shares, $68,000 for four.  You get the idea.  So for all you millionaires out there, you can get 59 shares for just over $1 million.  Not a bad deal, right?  We can share a luxury suite or two, with the largest investors to get the floor seats.  Any unsold floor seats can go by lottery if unsold by gametime.

Don’t worry about how it all works.  Hornets Hype’s lawyers will draft a comprehensive set of by-laws to govern HornetsHype, Inc.; but, for the sake of parity, we’ll try to set up most decisions by majority rule.  Although, Chouest owns 35% of the team now,  51% of our ownership own the remaining 65%, and so will be able to override anything he says or does.  Unlikely anyone would personally own more than half of our corporation, but who are we to stop investors from helping buy the Hornets and keeping them in New Orleans?

So, if you have $17,000 or more burning a hole in your pocket, hit us up.  If not, well, buy some goddamn tickets.  We’re not that far off the attendance mark that keeps any potential out-of-state investor from swooping in and stealing the team.  The Hornets, despite their recent swoon, are 8-2 at home.  That’s some good percentage of happy basketball.  So go watch.  In person.  Support your team.  Even if you aren’t committed enough to help buy the team, show some love and help give someone else local a reason to do so.  It’ll be the best money you’ve spent in a long while.

So let me sum up:

I'll be over here with my four friends, trying to process this.

I'll be over here with my four friends, trying to process this.

Jeff Bower has been fired. The Hornets are in the middle of free agency and haven’t signed anyone but Aaron Gray. They were already dealing with a million and two rumors of George Shinn’s sketchiness, and now they’re dealing with more because they may have backed out of Luther Head’s contract for no good reason and his agent is pitching a fit. Oh, plus the rumors that Chris Paul wants nothing to do with this mess. Let us not forget the Tom Thibodeau drama. And the rumors that the sale of the team to Gary Chouest has been held up for … why? Who even knows what the deal is? The last time there was a public statement was back in May when the local New Orleans public was told the deal was done.

Whether you liked Bower or not (I’m personally ambivalent), having him here was infinitely better than having no one. Who’s making the basketball decisions around here? The Assistant GM is– Oh. That’s right. We don’t have one. The guy in charge is George Shinn’s brother-in-law, who was a food service executive before joining the Hornets in 2005 (leaving aside for the moment the fact that he thinks Chris Paul rumors are started by people like me who “live in basements, in their pajamas” and never the perfectly legitimate New York media who are soooo responsible simply because they have a desk in an office).

Oh hey, maybe the VP is a basketball guy? Ha. Maybe he’s George Shinn’s son who has only a high school diploma, but according to his bio in the media guide “relies on his 20 years of experience in basketball to provide insight about basketball-related decisions” and “has been closely involved with the Hornets organization since its inception in 1987.” That sounds like a lot of experience. Huh. Maybe I am wrong. Except I’m not. Y’all, Chad Shinn is 30. His biography actually, no joke, IS COUNTING THE VAST EXPERIENCE HE GLEANED AS A 10-YEAR-OLD AMONG HIS QUALIFICATIONS. But hey, we do have, like, two scouts though. Let’s give a Hornets Hype shout out to our two scouts! What uuuuuupp Basketball Operations Department! Keep on fighting the good fight there. Yeah.

I mean, have I missed anything here? Can we get some basketball people up in here?

Dear god, I’m surrounded by idiots. Get me six martinis. I’ll be over there, with my fingers in my ears till October. I… can’t… hear… you.

Hat tip to @LSUHornet17 for the link to this radio interview on WIST 690 AM by Hornets President Hugh Weber. He addresses Chris Paul and the ownership transfer, and he does it much better than the official statement from George Shinn did yesterday.

I definitely recommend you check it out.

I would listen to it again and transcribe the interesting bits, but I was so annoyed by the chunk in the middle where he blames the Chris Paul rumors on “bloggers in the basement in their pajamas writing at midnight” that I can’t bring myself to. In fact, you can expect a scathing post in response when the draft is over.

Mr. Weber, I went to war for this team yesterday on Twitter. Both At the Hive and Hornets 247 cover your team with a depth of statistical knowledge that vastly, vastly surpasses both the local paper and the mainstream national sports media. Who, by the way, were 100% responsible for the creation and perpetuation of the Chris Paul rumors that, if you bothered to look at all, your local bloggers were savvy enough to scoff at immediately. I know all this “new media” is scary, but we’re not your enemy. And we certainly know your team better than Chad Ford and Bill freaking Simmons.

I’m sorry you don’t know it.

We’re glad to have you with us.

Monty Williams, the new Hornets Head Coach

Monty Williams, the new Hornets Head Coach

Fun fact: I believe the Hornets now have the youngest head coach in the league, since Williams is slightly younger than the Heat’s Erik Spoelstra.

Huge sigh of relief.

I was pretty sure the “impasse” in the talks that supposedly happened in the last two weeks was just a bit of gamesmanship and bargaining strategy from Shinn, since it was pretty clear there weren’t ever any other investors involved besides Chouest, but you can never be sure. If the sale talks dragged on any longer, it was going to start affecting the coach search, draft, and free agency. I’m definitely glad it’s getting done.

The Times Picayune is saying the official announcement of the transfer of ownership will happen Wednesday Thursday afternoon. We know Chouest is a Louisiana native, who bought his one quarter share in the team in 2007 with the goal of keeping basketball in New Orleans. We know he’s the owner of Edison Chouest Offshore, which manufactures marine vessels for the oil industry. Since the company is privately held, no source is clear on exactly how much he’s worth, but it’s certainly more than George Shinn. If he is indeed a billionaire, as rumored, this would put him in the top half of the list of the NBA’s richest owners**. But beyond that, Chouest is something of a mystery man, preferring to remain Shinn’s silent partner. He has only granted one interview, to my knowledge, and that was at the announcement of the purchase of his 25% stake in the team. We don’t know his ideas about the direction of the team. We don’t know how he feels about going over the luxury tax to ensure that Chris Paul stays in New Orleans. And we don’t know the possible future effects of the recent oil rig disaster on his business.

What we do know is that two of this blog’s least favorite things,  1) stupid error-riddled articles about the Hornets being cheap and 2) stupid error-riddled articles about the Hornets moving to another city, are probably about to be gone. Permanently. It’s like going to your high school reunion and seeing that the people who made fun of you got fat and work in retail now. Are we allowed to steal free agents out from under other teams’ noses and then laugh in their faces, or at least their local beat writers’ faces, now that we’re super super rich? Please say yes.

This is a good day for Hornets fans.

** Quoth the TP: “Many sources in the New Orleans area have indicated that Chouest’s financial resources are vast, easily in the 10-figure range.” The NBA apparently has eight other billionaire owners.

Closing That Door

By on April 12, 2010

I don’t feel super pumped about last night’s blowout win over the T-Wolves to close out the Hornets’ home schedule, but I don’t feel bad about it either. They didn’t lose. They didn’t play down to a terrible team. They didn’t blow a lead. They managed to pull themselves together enough to do the right thing for the fans.

Where are we going? Where have we been?

Byron Scott is gone. Rasual Butler, Tyson Chandler, Devin Brown, and Hilton Armstrong are gone. The Hornets overcame a terrible start to give us a scrappy, fun January and February, only to lose the franchise player to what pretty much ended up being a season-ending injury. (Oh, if it weren’t for that one errant pass and that one unfortunately positioned cameraman! What might have been!) Once they realized they were missing the playoffs, you could see the fire sort of go out of them, as we watched the inevitable slide toward the end of the season.

George Shinn is reportedly in the midst of selling the team to (local! richer!) minority partner Gary Chouest. This may mean big front office changes are on the way, heading into the offseason. This may mean the end, finally, of those pesky rumors we read every five minutes about how cheap the team is and how they’re going to move. We might have seen the last of Jeff Bower, as both coach and GM. The Hornets had one of the best drafts in the NBA in 2009. I discovered a new favorite player. We’ll most likely have the 11th pick in June.  Lots of stuff went down this season. It will continue to go down as we head into the draft and the summer.

I have not given my opinion on this blog about the upcoming sale of the team, but anyone who’s read Hornets Hype long enough can guess what it is easily enough. From the beginning, we’ve been about exactly two things: 1) Watching this team rise, under the leadership of the basketball magician Chris Paul, and 2) Keeping the team in New Orleans. Period. And I just don’t see how Shinn selling the team is anything but great news, when it comes to those two things we  care about the most. Chouest is local.  He’s got deeper pockets than Shinn; he’s got money coming from other places and therefore more resources. He doesn’t just want a basketball team– he wants a basketball team in New Orleans.

Looking back on the season, I realize I had more fun watching this year than I did in 2008-09, even though the team won 14 less games. So I can’t really say it was all a waste. It wouldn’t be true. Last night before tipoff, the rookies took the court to address the crowd (Lil Buckets is not the best public speaker– he not only looked 10 times more nervous than he’s ever looked while playing, but he hilariously started off his speech with, “Yeaaahh, so I know we didn’t have a real good season, but… “). I can’t think of anything more fitting– more than any other players on the team, this was their season. Watching Marcus Thornton go from wearing a suit to being a 20 PPG starter was worth the price of admission. Add in Collison’s masterful turn in substituting for the injured Chris Paul, and these two were the reason to watch. And you know what? I’m also going to shout out David West here, who, in case you didn’t notice, turned it on in the last two months of the season and particularly outdid himself in terms of assists, passing better this spring than he has in his entire career.

On a personal note, the Hype is doing the house-buying thing, so that’s why I haven’t been around much in the last couple weeks. Of course, the Hornets haven’t been around much in the last couple weeks either… It is what it is. We’ll probably have something to say about the playoffs. We’ll definitely have stuff to say about the draft. We’ll be around.

I don’t know. I just feel very strongly that all is not lost. I feel like big things are around the corner.

We’ll be here, waiting.

Top Hats and High Tops Gala

By on March 27, 2010

Last night we were lucky enough to be able to attend the Hornets annual Top Hats and High Tops gala to benefit the George Shinn Foundation. We had never been before, and we had a lot of fun. It was at the Roosevelt Hotel. Didn’t take too many pics, or really stalk the players, but here’s a short recap, bullet-style.

  • The room at the RooseveltEmeka Okafor pulled up and handed his car to the valet just as we arrived. It was a black Benz. Surprise, surprise (if you’ve ever gone to the airport to greet the team after a road trip, you know that this is THE official NBA player car or something).
  • Everyone was there, even Sean Marks, Ike Diogu, and Peja. Marks had his arm in one of those huge immobilizing casts that looks like a box. Ike looked fine, but Peja had a bit of a limp. I would not expect him back on the floor just yet.
  • Julian Wright sang a John Legend song on stage. He was pretty good!
  • Emeka’s date bid on his signed Mardi Gras jersey and photo at the silent auction. And I am pretty sure I saw them walking out with it at the end of the evening too. LOL!
  • I didn’t really stare at any of the players’ wives/girlfriends/dates, so don’t even ask for details on them or what they wore.
  • We got a player at our table, and they pulled names out of hats to see who. It turned out to be Aaron Gray. He and his date were super nice and put up with everyone at the table talking nonstop about Twitter. Aaron (as George Shinn gives a speech about his cancer): Are you all twittering right now? … We were. We are all horrible people. Haha.
  • Aaron Gray ate two dinner plates.
  • The event was 1920s themed. Turns out that’s what the ’20s photoshoot the Hornets players did last month was for. They had big, sepia versions of all the players on the wall and in the silent auction.
  • One of the coolest silent auction items was the entire team’s signed shoes. It took up like a whole table. I’m not sure what you would do with it.
  • I only saw James Posey from afar. Sigh. For those of you who remember, last year Posey was in a bad shooting slump, and the day after I took a picture with him at an appearance, he came out and went off like crazy from three. I took credit, and the joke was, any Hornet who touches me will have a great game the next night. Unfortunately, I forgot about this until late in the evening. The only players who touched Lucky Ticktock6 were Marcus Thornton, Darren Collison, and David West, and let’s face it, they were all going to have good games anyway. Wasted opportunity…
  • My goal for the evening was a pic with Buckets. I ended up getting both rookies, because they were sitting beside each other talking when I walked up, and I didn’t want to leave Lil Dimes out. I did not explain to Thornton that I am responsible for him getting stuck with being called “Lil Buckets.” (Niall at Hornets 247 recently told me it says Lil Buckets on his sheet that the Hornets hand around to the media.) Maybe another time…
  • The ladies love Peja. I don’t get it. Haha.
  • Chris Paul was wearing a velvet blazer and gray and white (I think) Dunks. And glasses. Stylin.
Our table with Aaron Gray

Our table (except mW, who's taking the picture)with Aaron Gray. His date is sitting. I'm on the right. He was popular with the ladies, as you can see.

And… wait for it… wait for it… the highlight of my night:

ROOKIE SANDWICH!!

ROOKIE SANDWICH!!

Hee hee, look at Darren Collison bringing the Krispy Kremes! But I’m confused though: they didn’t talk about the 6 hours of prep Gil McGregor and Bob Licht put in to bring us all those great puns

Get Well, Mr. Shinn!

By on November 6, 2009

Sad news from the Hornets family today. Owner George Shinn has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. OK, fine, we are guilty of criticizing the Man In Charge at times, and we wouldn’t mind ditching the pregame prayer (or at least mixing it up with a little religious diversity anyway). But regardless of all that, he is the owner of the team and this is unfortunate news. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy, and Shinn is not. He is the man who brought us a basketball team. We wish him luck with his cancer treatment.

Here’s the statement Shinn and the Hornets released today:

“My wife, Denise, and I remain strong in our faith and will maintain a positive attitude as I battle this with intense fervor and drive,” Shinn said in the statement. “This is not the first obstacle that I have had to overcome in life, but it will be another one that will be conquered. Those closest to me understand my commitment to God and belief in the power of prayer, so all that I ask is for people to add me to their prayers. I’m proud of the fact that I will be joining the ranks of cancer survivors around the world who exemplify the greatest strength and resilience. I am consulting with the finest doctors and they are also optimistic that this will be another example of overcoming the struggles that life can throw your way. Thanks to the medical staff at Ochsner where I am convinced many of the finest doctors in the country are employed.”

Good luck to Mr. Shinn, and good luck to the Hornets tonight as they take on the Raps at home!

Woe. There is no hype. There is anti-hype.

I’m not really going to talk about the Rockets game. There are plenty of other places you can take part in the meltdown. I’m not going to complain about the officiating because, while it was bad, it was so not the reason we lost that there isn’t any point. I was gonna have Pose write you some sad haikus, but unfortunately he and I aren’t speaking right now.

Vote for the Honeybees!Anyhow, I just wanted to give you the heads up on some upcoming stuff:

1. NBA.com just unveiled its 2009 NBA Dance Team bracket. The Honeybees are up against the Lakers Girls, and amazingly, the picture they chose to represent the team is way better than the Lakers’ one. I think they might have a chance…. So, OK. I didn’t think anyone really paid attention to this stuff. Come to find out, mW takes it quite seriously. He even visits the team’s website to peruse the girls. But only, he informs me, in the case of tiebreakers…

……………… right.

2. Inspired by the NBA Dance Team bracket, I’ve decided to roll out the First Annual NBA Hot Baller bracket. Yes! I’ll probably be starting Thursday or Friday. That means all of you who are dudes can just scroll on by and roll your eyes, while all 5 of us female basketball fans vote for the hottest team in the NBA! I don’t think I’m going to bother with actual seeding based on looks, because that would be highly subjective. I’ll do the matchups based on actual team seedings as of tomorrow. And then, you know, let things play out where they fall. Also, in most cases it’s not going to be only one guy per team. Teams will be represented by their very best. Sorta like the dance team bracket, where you put your three best-looking girls in the front of the photo while hiding the unfortunate-looking ones in the back…

3. Thursday night is Casino Night, which is basically a season ticketholder event where you can mingle with the players… Well, or they’ll deal you a game of blackjack or something. There are prizes and food, and we’ll be there hopefully taking pictures, which we’ll post up. It was fun last year, but we got there a little too late to see some of the players, like Chris Paul, who put in his appearance early. I coulda met David West… we were like two ships passing in the night– OK, lurking by the buffet table– but he kinda looked like he wanted to stay incognito.

I’m out like the Hornets’ fourth-quarter offense…