Scott wants Hornets to stay in Oklahoma City
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Hornets coach Byron Scott said Wednesday he would rather have the team return to Oklahoma City than go back to New Orleans next season.
"I would love to play here," Scott said after the Hornets' 84-68 loss to San Antonio at Oklahoma City's Ford Center. "I would love to stay here and play in Oklahoma City next year. I think our guys are at home here. I think the fans have been unbelievable. Out of our 12 home wins, I think the fans out there have won half of them. So, I would prefer to stay here next year."
The Hornets are 12-7 in Oklahoma this season and have already exceeded their win total from last season. After going 18-64 last season, the Hornets are 20-22 this season following the loss to the Spurs.
The NBA has said it would like to make a decision about the Hornets' 2006-07 home by the end of this month, so the team could move forward with season ticket sales. Displaced by Hurricane Katrina, the Hornets will play 36 of their 41 home games in Oklahoma City. Three others are scheduled at the New Orleans Arena in March, and games were played at alternate sites in Baton Rouge, La., and Norman, Okla.
Scott said he doesn't think the decision has been a distraction for his players, but he doesn't want to wait until the summer to find out.
"I hope the NBA makes up their mind as soon as possible," he said.
After playing a December game in front of a half-full arena in Baton Rouge, Scott advocated moving two other games from Louisiana to Oklahoma because turnout at the Ford Center has given the team a home-court advantage. Eleven of the 18 games at the Ford Center have been sellouts.
The team's contract with Oklahoma City contains an option to return for next season, but its lease with the New Orleans Arena has language suggesting the Hornets would be required to return if the arena is suitable for play.
The NBA will have the final say on where the team plays.
"There's no pressure on me whatsoever on any decision that they make," Scott said. "As far as would you like to stay here -- or would I? From a head coach's standpoint, I would like to stay here and play next year."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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