Relocation Committee is named!
Jerry Colangelo is on it! This is good news for New Orleans.
NBA appoints relocation committee
By John Reid
Staff writer/The Times-Picayune
Seven NBA owners were selected Friday to form the league's relocation committee that will evaluate the Charlotte Hornets' application to New Orleans.
Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss, San Antonio Spurs chairman Peter Holt, Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon, Phoenix Suns chairman Jerry Colangelo, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Gordon Gund, Philadelphia 76ers chairman Ed Snider and New Jersey Nets co-chairman/owner Lewis Katz were selected by NBA commissioner David Stern.
None of the owners could be reached for comment Friday. But NBA spokesman Tim Franks said no timetable has been set for when the committee will conduct meetings. Franks said each owner can began evaluating on his own.
The committee is expected to give its recommendation to the Board of Governors, the 29 league owners, within 120 days.'"We will forward whatever information they need over the next several days," Hornets co-owner Ray Wooldridge said. "I think they will decide what's in the best interest of the NBA."
Wooldridge remains confident the league will approve the relocation. Fifteen owners must approve.
"I'm 100-percent optimistic," he said.
Buss, Herb, Colangelo and Holt were on last year's relocation committee that recommended the Board of Governors' approval for the Grizzlies' move from Vancouver to Memphis, Tenn. The Board of Governors approved.
In Charlotte, Wooldridge and partner George Shinn said the team continues to suffer substancial financial losses because it can't make enough revenue with 12 luxury suites in Charlotte Coliseum, their current home. The Hornets are averaging less than 12,000 fans a game.
On Wednesday, Stern acknowledged publicly for the first time the league might not have a choice but to approve a move because of the mounting problems.
Shinn and Wooldridge filed a relocation application Jan. 17 to move their team from Charlotte to New Orleans, effective for the 2002-2003 season.
Doug Thornton, general manager of the New Orleans Arena and the Superdome, said earlier this week he expects the relocation committee will likely make their visit to New Orleans after the Mardi Gras holidays next month.
The committee is expected to evaluate fan support, population base, median income, the television market and quality of the arena in both New Orleans and Charlotte, Frank said.
The Hornets kicked off their season-ticket and luxury-suites selling drive in New Orleans Wednesday. Both Wooldridge and Thornton said it's time to show the league New Orleans and the surrounding area can support an NBA team by ordering season tickets and by businesses purchasing luxury suites. The New Orleans Arena, where the Hornets would play its home games, seats 18,500 and has 44 suites, and an additional 20 will be built for next season.
"A lot of people have been waiting for an NBA team to move here," said Elwin Hunter, a New Orleans native who is going to purchase Hornets season tickets. "It's going to be good for the city."
The team's phone number for season tickets is (800) 266-5669.