In case you haven't heard, the NBA has taken financial ownership of the Hornets after the deal between former owner George Shinn and former minority owner Gary Chouest failed to reach an agreement to give Chouest full control of the team.
This was followed with the news today that sports blog Deadspin.com has received financial statements for the Hornets' last two seasons. Hornets PR have not responded to requests for comments regarding the documents but, judging by the looks of the documents and Deadspin's history of revealing teams' financial papers, it seems like it's legit.
All in all, it doesn't paint a pretty picture for the Hornets. This appears to be a team that is constantly borrowing money just to operate under budget and hamstrung by a long series of financial shortcomings (poor attendance among them).
The Deadspin leak happened just hours after I sat down with a one-on-one interview with head coach Monty Williams for an upcoming article in the Gambit. It should be noted that, despite all the turmoil surrounding this franchise dating back to the summer, Williams has led his squad to their best start in franchise history. After the sale of the franchise, Williams said he wasn't concerned with the ownership situation or the particulars of the deal with the NBA:
"To be honest with you, I don't want to know," he said. "I don't want it to affect my focus and my Job. When whatever happens, happens, I'll deal with it then."
During my interview, the subject came up again as I asked why he chose to coach a franchise in such turmoil and his frustration with being asked non-basketball questions (again, this is before the financial documents were released):
"I never looked at the summer as bad stuff, I just thought it was different," he said. "But the opportunity to coach a Chris Paul and David West, it's not something most guys get a chance to do. Most young coaches have to take over a rebuilding project, I didn't have to do that. I came in with a team that, was not in disarray but needed some work. And yet there was a lot of risk coming here because the pressure to win is there. Bottom line: it was a job and I think people lose track of that. In this economy you can't turn your nose up at a job and I don't."
For those of you who don't know, that answer is typical Williams. All off-season long he all but refused to talk about trade speculation with Paul. This dates back to Williams' college years (which we talked about in the interview) when he was diagnosed with a heart condition and he got fed up answering questions about his medical history when he wanted to talk basketball.
Williams, despite everything else surrounding the team, is fully committed to his job. That job is Williams' to keep for the time being as the NBA announced that the team will keep all its current management and work under its existing budget.
Whether Williams and Co. will be keeping their jobs in New Orleans or moving in a year or two is still up in the air.
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