Rockets offer Toyota Center office space to Hornets

Updated: September 1, 2005, 10:18 AM ET news services

HOUSTON -- Some members of the New Orleans Hornets' front office have relocated to Houston and are working out of the Toyota Center.

"Our staff is kind of scattered around the country, but we have about 15 members in Houston," Hornets chief marketing officer Tim McDougall told Houston television station KRIV on Wednesday. "The Rockets have been generous enough to give us some office space to work out of. ... The things we are focused on right now are just making sure our staff is OK and safe."

Members of the Hornets' staff have set up in a conference room with computers and telephones.

"It's great to at least to be able to lend a helping hand -- make them feel like they have a home away from home for a little while and give them as much support as we possibly can," Rockets senior vice president of marketing and sales Tad Brown told the TV station.

The New York Times reported on its Web site on Wednesday night that NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik sent an e-mail to all the teams in the NBA to prepare them for the possible relocation of the Hornets.

"Even if the arena is operable, it still may be impossible to play games in New Orleans for some time," Granik wrote in the e-mail message, a copy of which was obtained by the Times.

The e-mail message said plans were under way to find sites for the Hornets' training camp, which starts in just over a month, and preseason games, and that the league will start searching for alternative sites for the regular season next week. If the team is forced to relocate, the NBA will try to find a place close to home.

Hornets general manager Allan Bristow told the San Antonio Express-News that training camp would be held elsewhere.

"We don't want to say yet what we want to do," Bristow told the paper, "because we don't really know what we're faced with. We want to wait a while. The whole situation is ongoing, changing all the time.

"I do know that, as of right now, it's not at all realistic to expect to have our training camp there [in New Orleans]."

The NFL's Saints will be based in San Antonio for a while. It's highly unlikely they will be able to hold their home opener Sept. 18 at the Superdome -- and they may not be able to play there at all this season.

The Saints escaped the hurricane by flying with their families last weekend to San Jose, Calif. New Orleans plays at Oakland on Thursday night in its final exhibition game.