Bobcats record: 6-11
SBN Hornets blog: At The Hive
Sad stuff for New Orleans Hornets fans hitting the papers recently: if the team doesn't average more than 14, 213 in attendance over the next 13 games, they will have the option to break their lease and move. From AtH's description of the situation, it seems a long shot that they'd move before next season, but even at best, this only reinforces the rumblings that unless a NOLA-committed owner purchases the franchise, the league would prefer they move.
Of course, NOLA has proven they will support an NBA team when it wins. Just as Charlotte has. Just as Seattle has. Just as Oklahoma City has. Just as Sacramento has. Just as Minneapolis has. There are only so many locations guaranteed to draw a big crowd, win or lose: Oakland, New York City, and possibly Chicago. Remember when Memphis got to the playoffs three years in a row? They got up to 19th in attendance in the middle season of that run, and Memphis is possibly the most difficult NBA market.
What's sad is that we see this over and over again. If the Hornets move, it will be because ownership isn't satisfied with attendance and revenue below the Lakers' and Knicks', will blame the city for not supporting it, for not building a brand new state of the art downtown arena for the team, and will move to another municipality willing to pay for an arena in exchange for the prestige of being "major league", only once there, ownership will realize they're not going to match the Lakers' and Knicks' revenues... and repeat after about a decade or so.
Winning brings fans. Losing loses fans. I'm convinced Charlotte is unique in that we pretty much need to wait for new generations of people to grow up and embrace the current team because so many adults here were burned by the previous team. But in New Orleans, all they have to do is string together a couple playoff appearances, and they'll be back firmly in the upper half of the NBA attendance averages.