Hornets' interim home could be decided in a week
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The New Orleans Hornets' home for the 2005-06 season should be announced within a week, according to NBA commissioner David Stern.
Stern, in attendance at Friday night's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies, told ESPN.com the league is close to making an announcement with the displaced franchise after Hurricane Katrina made playing in the city unfeasible for the foreseeable future.
"We're getting to a place where we have to make a decision relatively soon," Stern said. "I would hope by the end of next week we'll have something to say."
Earlier Friday, The Associated Press reported that five NBA officials toured Oklahoma City's Ford Center after the city offered to house the Hornets for the season.
The AP reported that mayor Mick Cornett said the league discussed a lease if they decided on playing 41 games in the 19,675-seat facility.
"The NBA is impressed with what we have to offer," Cornett told the AP.
Louisville, Nashville and Kansas City have reportedly shown they would be interested in letting the Hornets use their facilities, too.
The Hornets' front office relocated to Houston and already announced that it would hold its training camp at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Deputy commissioner Russ Granik, who was also in attendance at the Hall of Fame said the Hornets would prefer to play in Louisiana at LSU in Baton Rouge. Granik said there were three to four options available but added that Las Vegas wasn't one of them for this season.
"We'll see what's available," Granik said. "We hope to have it done within a week. We'd like them to stay in one place if it were possible."
The New Orleans Saints are expected to play three games at LSU and four at the Alamodome in San Antonio. One of their home games was moved to New Jersey on the New York Giants home field at the Meadowlands. Tulane football relocated to Louisiana Tech while its men's basketball team will be at Texas A&M and its women's basketball team at Texas Tech. The University of New Orleans men's and women's basketball teams relocated to the University of Texas at Tyler.
Stern and Granik both said the Hornets were looking for a "temporary or interim home," and not a permanent move.
But it's still premature to make any decisions beyond this season.
"We haven't been in to inspect [the arena]," Stern said. "We don't know when people will be allowed back into the city. We're taking our lead from people who are dealing with much more important things than us."
Granik added that "right now the focus is on the team remaining the New Orleans Hornets."
Meanwhile, Cornett said Friday that the sale of tickets for Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in Oklahoma City suggest a strong market for a pro team.
"That old image that we had of Oklahoma City as being a market that was only able to support minor-league events is outdated," Cornett told the AP.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.
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