This may not matter to many of you, but it was fascinating to me on Friday to see two down-on-their-luck franchises take steps in opposite directions on Friday.
On the downside was the Sacramento Kings - at least I think that's what they will continue to be called, but I don't think that's a given anymore.
After a whirlwind 24 hours that saw emotional statements from all involved parties, the framework of a deal struck in February between the NBA, the city of Sacramento and the Maloof famiy, owners of the Kings, to construct a new arena in Sacramento to house the team has fallen apart. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported from New York on Friday afternoon that Johnson said the deal is "absolutely" dead and that the Maloofs have not "honored their commitment" to the agreement after talks fell apart on Friday.
On the more positive side is the situation in New Orleans. The league finally found a buyer in Tom Benson, the owner of the New Orleans Saints. Even better (well, for me at least) is the fact that they will re-brand their team.
Benson said he is also trying to change the name of the NBA team to better fit the ambience, culture and charm of New Orleans. "We need to find a name like (Jazz)," Benson said, referring to New Orleans first NBA team that relocated to Salt Lake City in 1979. "Whether we can get that or let us use that, you've got to know we're working on it. We'd like to change it tomorrow. We have not gotten that approved, but we're not letting up on it, either. Because we've got a good relationship with the commissioner and his people and we're going to be on them daily to do something."
The Jazz being in Utah still gets on my nerves because I care too much about such things. I'm still hoping that the Wizards will either go back to the Bullets or try something else. Still don't hold your breath on the New Orleans Jazz happening. As Kurt Helin tells it:
At this point, Jazz is not going to happen, even though that name fits in Utah about as well as a crawfish boil. Look, Lakers fits a whole lot better in Minnesota than it does Los Angeles but they’re not giving it up either. But there are a host of other potential names that can work and you can bet in a couple years Benson will have the Hornets called something appropriate. And you know, that black and gold color scheme of the saints would look cool on an NBA uniform. Just sayin’.
There's also talk of the folks in Charlotte perhaps wanting the Hornets name back because they don't like the Bobcats name.
Hey, maybe we can get the Lakers to give their name back to Minnesota and finally admit that they don't have as many titles as they claim they do. Nah, that'd be asking too much.