The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

10 January 2008

A size-14 shoe drops

Maybe bigger, depending on your level of cynicism. The NBA's Hornets (remember them?) have renegotiated their lease at the New Orleans Arena, and the new expiration date is 2014, two years later than the previous lease. But now there's an early-out clause:

[The lease] allows the Hornets to opt out after next season, albeit with penalties ranging from $50 million to $100 million. The precise cost would depend on inducement reimbursements by the team to the state and a relocation fee imposed by the NBA.

The lease says the Hornets may leave only if average attendance is worse than 14,735 for the final five months of this season and next season. The benchmark is close to the team's average attendance for the three seasons before Hurricane Katrina. Such an average still would leave the Hornets in the bottom third of NBA attendance, league officials said.

Not counting last night's game with the Lakers, the Hornets are averaging 11,871, which has to be discouraging for a team that's tied with the Mavericks and half a game behind the Spurs. And here's a kick: the Bees are 9-6 at home and 14-5 on the road. (The Mavs, away from Dallas, are a ghastly 7-8.) Not that I'd suggest the Hornets would rather be somewhere else entirely; after all, they just signed an extension of their lease, right?

Update: The Bees drew 15,605 against the Lakers, who won 109-80.

Posted at 7:04 AM to Net Proceeds