Report: Oklahoma City to host Hornets in 2006-07
ESPN.com news services
The Hornets appear headed toward maintaining their home base in Oklahoma City, with several visits to New Orleans likely for the 2006-07 season, the Times-Picayune reported.
While the Hornets' number of games to be played in New Orleans next season is uncertain, the team is expected to return to the city full time for the 2007-08 season, according to the paper.
Hurricane Katrina forced the NBA franchise, along with other professional and college sports teams, to leave New Orleans last year.
While NBA commissioner David Stern has been leaning toward the Hornets ultimately returning to New Orleans, coach Byron Scott has expressed concerns about the timing.
"I really don't think they'll have the residency, the economics to support a second franchise," Scott told the newspaper on Thursday. "I think our attendance would probably be worse, because I don't think you have enough people. That's my main concern."
"We believe the Hornets' lease agreement requires them to return to New Orleans for the 2006-07 season," Louisiana Superdome Commission chairman Tim Coulon said in a statement quoted by the Times-Picayune. "We are aware of their concern regarding the ability of the market to support a 41-game season.
"The state ... has been diligently working with the Hornets and the NBA toward the same mutual goal: to assure the long-term success of NBA basketball in New Orleans. We have made every effort to make accurate, objective information and projections available to them. We believe they have made a long-term-commitment to New Orleans."