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Нью-Орлеан Хорнетс

Нью-Орлеан Хорнетс (англ. New Orleans Hornets) — профессиональный баскетбольный клуб, выступающий в Национальной баскетбольной ассоциации. Команда была основана в 1988 году. До сезона 2002/2003 клуб базировался в городе Шарлотт, Северная Каролина. Сейчас клуб находится в городе Новый Орлеан, Луизиана. Из-за разрушительного урагана «Катрина» в сезонах 2005-06 и 2006-07 команда проводила домашние матчи в городе Оклахома-Сити, Оклахома и именовалась как New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.


The New Orleans Hornets are a professional basketball team based in New Orleans, Louisiana. They play in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association. The franchise began play during the 1988–89 NBA season as the Charlotte Hornets, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, where they were located for fourteen seasons. Following the 2001–02 season, the team relocated to New Orleans, becoming the New Orleans Hornets. After three seasons in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina forced the franchise temporarily relocate to Oklahoma City, where they spent two seasons as the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. The Hornets returned to New Orleans full-time for the 2007–08 season.

Franchise History

1985–2002: Charlotte Hornets

In 1985, the NBA was planning to expand by four teams. George Shinn, an entrepreneur from Kannapolis, North Carolina, wanted to bring an NBA team to the Charlotte area, and he assembled a group of prominent local businessmen to head the prospective franchise. On April 5, 1987, he was awarded the team, which begin play during the 1988–89 NBA season. From 1988 to 2002, the franchise was known as the Charlotte Hornets, and played their home games at the Charlotte Coliseum, in Charlotte, North Carolina. The franchise had talented players in Charlotte, including Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, Glen Rice, Muggsy Bogues, and Baron Davis. The Hornets led the NBA in attendance for eight seasons (including seven strait from 1990–97), but their attendance declined dramatically from 1999–2002, in large part because team-owner George Shinn, for various reasons, had become a pariah in the city. In fourteen seasons in Charlotte, The Hornets compiled an overall record of 542–574, and qualified for the post-season seven times. In the summer of 2002, the franchise relocated to New Orleans, and became the New Orleans Hornets.

2002–05: Early years in New Orleans

The Hornets opened their inaugural season in New Orleans on October 30, 2002, against the Utah Jazz, who were originally known as the New Orleans Jazz. The Hornets defeated the Jazz 100–75, and posthumously retired "Pistol" Pete Maravich's number during halftime. It was the first regular season NBA game played in New Orleans in over 17 years[1] (there were a few exhibition games played through the years, including the then Charlotte Hornets in New Orleans in 2000). The Hornets finished the season at 47–35, and qualified for the playoffs for the fourth straight year. The were defeated by Philadelphia, however, 4 games to 2 in the first round.

Following the season, the team unexpectedly fired Paul Silas, and replaced him with Tim Floyd. The Hornets began the 2002–03 season with a 17–7 start, but sputtered at the end and finished 41–41, narrowly missing out on home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They met the Miami Heat in the first round; Dwyane Wade's last second shot sunk the Hornets in Game One of the series, which ended up being the difference in a 4–3 series win for Miami.

After the season, Floyd was fired and the team hired Byron Scott as the new head coach. Because of their relocation, the Hornets began playing in the tougher Southwest Division of the Western Conference which included four playoff teams: the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, and Memphis Grizzlies; the team was not expected to compete for a playoff spot with such stiff competition. In a season marred by injury to the team's three all-stars (Baron Davis, Jamaal Magloire, and Jamal Mashburn) an 0–8 start quickly became a 2–29 record (including a one-point loss in overtime to their replacements, the expansion Charlotte Bobcats, in the team's first game back in Charlotte since relocating). The Hornets were on track to become the worst team in NBA history, threatening the Philadelphia 76ers' record of a 9–73 season, but the Hornets performed better in January and February. As a result of the lack of success, the team's roster was reshaped, with older veterans like Baron Davis and Jamal Mashburn traded to start the rebuilding process. None of the trades, however, made a significant impact. The Hornets finished the year with a franchise-worst record of 18–64, and the franchise's first losing season since 1991–92.

2005–07: Hurricane Katrina and temporary relocation to Oklahoma City

Due to the catastrophic devastation brought by Hurricane Katrina upon the communities of southeastern Louisiana, the Hornets franchise temporarily relocated their base of operations to Oklahoma City in 2005–06 and 2006–07. During this time, the franchise was known as the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. In these two seasons, the vast majority of home games were played at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, while a few remained at New Orleans Arena. Their practice facility while in Oklahoma City was the Sawyer Center on the campus of Southern Nazarene University (SNU). and the team held its 2006 training camp at their New Orleans practice facility, the Alario Center, in Westwego, Louisiana.

With the fourth pick in the 2005 NBA draft, the Hornets got a future all-star with the selection of point guard Chris Paul. For the 2005–06 season, the team played 36 games in Oklahoma City, with one game taking place at the Lloyd Noble Center on the campus of the University of Oklahoma due to a conflict at the Ford Center; three in New Orleans; and one at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on the campus of LSU. The intent had been to play 5 games in all at Baton Rouge, but strong progress made on restoring the New Orleans Arena made the return to New Orleans a better option.

The Hornets started off the 2005–06 NBA season better than expected, even after backup center Chris Andersen received a two-year ban due to a drug violation. The Hornets seemed to use this as motivation, and the team briefly held the sixth seed in the Western playoff race. Eventually, however, they went cold, losing 12 out of 13 games to drop out of the playoff race, setting an NBA record in the process when they scored 16 points in the second half of a game against the Clippers. The Hornets rebounded and made one final push at the end of the season for a playoff spot, but finished 38–44, 10th place in the Western Conference. Despite the losing record, Chris Paul won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in a landslide, and several Hornets were also in contention for other individual awards.

The Hornets made major roster changes after the 2005–06 season in hopes of advancing to the Western Conference postseason for the first time ever. They traded J.R. Smith and P.J. Brown to the Chicago Bulls for Tyson Chandler. They let Speedy Claxton sign with the Atlanta Hawks, but filled their backup PG position with free agents Bobby Jackson and Jannero Pargo. They also inked Peja Stojakovic from the Indiana Pacers.

The Hornets opted to keep their base of operations in Oklahoma City for the 2006–07 season due to the continued recovery efforts in New Orleans but promised to return to New Orleans full time, possibly as early as 2007. During the 2006–2007 season, the Hornets played 35 home games in Oklahoma City and 6 in New Orleans. The team finished the regular season with a 39–43 record, one more win than the previous season.

The team's successful operation in Oklahoma City arguably contributed to the city being named as the new home for the Seattle SuperSonics franchise starting in the 2008–09 NBA season (see Oklahoma City Thunder).

2007–10: Back in the Big Easy

The Hornets franchise returned to New Orleans full-time for the 2007–2008 season, with all 41 home games played in the New Orleans Arena. League officials had stressed from the beginning the desire for the franchise to return to New Orleans once it proved feasible and that they would make a good-faith effort to assist with the recovery. To that end, the 2008 NBA All-Star Game and its accompanying festivities were awarded to New Orleans and a serious marketing campaign was commenced in February 2007. Subsequently, various corporate sponsorship agreements were signed (under the umbrella of the Crescent City Champions), with Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Capital One, and Cox Communications among them. The Hornets largely stood pat heading into the 2007–2008 season. They did, however, sign free agents Morris Peterson and Melvin Ely, while letting go of former first round draft pick Cedric Simmons. The club also extended the contract of reserve guard Jannero Pargo, and selected Kansas forward Julian Wright with the 13th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

Attendance at the New Orleans Arena, while tepid at first, picked up considerably in the months of March and April 2008 with the team registering sell-outs in 12 of its last 17 regular season home games, and the final 13 total games (including playoffs). Healthier than previous seasons, the Hornets stormed to a 29–12 record at the halfway mark. Having the best record in the Western Conference on February 3 meant that Byron Scott would coach the 2008 Western Conference All-Stars at home in the New Orleans Arena. Scott was joined by two of his players, as both Chris Paul and David West were selected as All-Star reserves. Chris Paul was nominated for NBA MVP 2008 and placed 2nd in voting. On February 21 the Hornets made an in-season trade with the Houston Rockets acquiring swingman Bonzi Wells and backup point guard Mike James for veteran guard Bobby Jackson.

The Hornets completed the regular season with a record of 56–26, making the season their most successful ever. The Hornets also won their first ever division title, winning the Southwest Division ahead of the San Antonio Spurs. Having clinched the 2nd overall seed for the Western Conference, the Hornets beat the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. The Hornets posted decisive wins against the 3rd seed San Antonio Spurs in the first two games of Western Conference Semi-finals, but eventually lost to the defending champion Spurs 3 games to 4 in a tightly contested series.

In August 2008, the Hornets unveiled a modified logo and new uniforms with the colors of Creole blue, purple, and Mardi Gras gold, and after six seasons, the pinstripes were reinstated on the uniforms. The script was changed as an allusion to the wrought iron architecture of New Orleans. An additional third logo was introduced, with the "NOLA" abbreviation and a trumpet. The team also publicly announced the sale of over 10,000 season tickets for the 2008–2009 season, a record total since the relocation from Charlotte.

Having experienced the most successful season in franchise history, both in the regular season and the playoffs, the 2009 NBA season was viewed with great expectations for the Hornets franchise. Several pundits picked the Hornets to repeat as winners of the Southwest Division and as a potential Western Conference champion.

The core players from the previous season were all back for 2008–2009. Swingman James Posey was signed as a free agent from the Boston Celtics in July, while reserve guard Jannero Pargo opted for the Russian Basketball Super League. In December the Hornets solidified the point guard position by acquiring Antonio Daniels in a three-team deal, giving up seldom-used guard Mike James and a future second-round draft pick. More notably, on February 18 it was announced that starting center Tyson Chandler had been traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for forwards Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox in what was generally perceived as a payroll-shedding move. However, within a day, the trade was rescinded due to concerns regarding Chandler's turf toe.

For the second year in a row the Hornets were represented with two players at the NBA All Star Game as Chris Paul was voted in by the fans as a starter, and David West was selected as a reserve by the NBA coaches.

The season in itself was up and down for the Hornets, and by April it was clear that the record-breaking 56–26 record of 2007–2008 was unattainable in 2008–2009. This was to some extent due to injury problems, most notably to Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakovic. The Hornets finished the season with a disappointing 49–33 record, 4th in the Southwest Division and 7th in the Western Conference. Paired up with the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs, the Hornets commenced the post-season in a sour manner, losing both of the first two games decisively in Denver. Trailing 2–1, the next game proved brutal for the Hornets. The Hornets tied the worst loss in playoff history with a 121–63 beating. They shot 31.5% from the field with 13.3% 3-point shooting. The banged up Hornets were subsequently eliminated from the 2009 NBA playoffs in Game 5, beginning an off-season of speculation on the future construction of the team.

In the aftermath of a highly unsuccessful end to the 2009 NBA season and the in-season attempt to trade starting center Tyson Chandler for expiring contracts, the New Orleans Hornets were widely perceived to be looking to trim the payroll. Indeed, at the start of the NBA free agency period on July 1, the Hornets had the highest payroll of all teams in the league, topping $77 Million. When the luxury tax level was set on July 7, it left the Hornets in excess of $7 million in the tax zone.

Despite comments from the team owner- and leadership about the intention to compete and building a winner, it was still seen as quite surprising when on July 28, the Hornets landed center Emeka Okafor from the Charlotte Bobcats for Tyson Chandler. While the move allowed the Hornets to shed $1.3 Million of the 2009-2010 payroll, they also took on the remainder of Okafors contract valued at just under $63 Million for 5 years.

The backcourt had been strengthened via the draft. On June 25, 2009, the Hornets drafted Darren Collison with the 21st pick of the 2009 NBA Draft. The Hornets also traded two future second round picks to the Miami Heat for the 43rd pick Marcus Thornton. On August 12, 2009, the Hornets traded starter Rasual Butler to the Clippers for a 2016 second round draft pick, in an elaborate attempt to lower the payroll. Butler was slated to earn $3.9 Million for the season, but due to the Hornets being in the tax zone, those savings were effectively doubled. Further, on September 9, the Hornets traded guard Antonio Daniels to the Minnesota Timberwolves for guard Bobby Brown and forward Darius Songaila.

The conscious effort to get below the luxury tax threshold continued during the season. First, disappointing back-up center Hilton Armstrong was traded along with cash considerations to the Sacramento Kings for a conditional 2016 second round draft pick. Shortly thereafter, starting shooting guard Devin Brown was traded to the Chicago Bulls for reserve center Aaron Gray and backup guard Bobby Brown was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for a conditional 2nd round draft pick. In total, these trades got the Hornets just below the luxury tax threshold.

On the court, the Hornets started the season in a disappointing fashion, and head coach Byron Scott was fired on November 12, 2009 after a 3-6 start to the season. General manager Jeff Bower took over the head coaching duties for the remainder of the season. The Hornets overcame the bad start to the season and were as high as 6th in the Western Conference standings in late January. In the second to last game of January, Chris Paul got injured trying to save an errant pass going out of bounds. Despite returning for a stretch late in the season, that injury effectively ended Paul's season. The lone highlight for the remainer of the season was the stellar performance of rookies Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton. Collison achieved the longest stretch of games with at least 18 points and 9 assists (7 in a row in February) for a rookie since Oscar Robertson. For Thornton, one of many highlights was the 37 points (including a franchise record quarter of 23 points) he dropped on Cleveland on February 23. Both rookies made the all-rookie teams after the season, a first in franchise history.

The Hornets finished the season with a lowly 37–45 record, finishing last in the Southwest division they had won only two seasons before. Jeff Bower later resigned as head coach to concentrate on his front office duties. This did not last long as Bower was fired by the Hornets on July 13, 2010, ending a tenure of nearly 15 years within the organization. In between Bower's stepping down as head coach and his dismissal from the organization, Monty Williams was brought in as new head coach. The former assistant coach of the Portland Trail Blazers was at the age of just 38 the youngest head coach in the league. To replace Bower as general manager, the Hornets hired Dell Demps of the San Antonio Spurs in late July.

2010–present: A new beginning

With a new head coach and a new general manager in place, the Hornets went through the summer with two vast uncertains hanging over the organization. The first was a prolonged process of minority owner Gary Chouest possibly buying out long term owner George Shinn and thus becoming sole owner of the organization. The most probable consequence of this possible transaction would be financially as Chouest is considerably stronger than Shinn. The second uncertainty pertained to the situation regarding star point guard Chris Paul. At several times during the off-season there were murmurs of unhappiness and a desire to be traded. At the start of the season, some of this had subsided, but the situation is still pertinent, and may resurface if the Hornets encounter another disappointing season, as Paul on numerous occasions has expressed his desire to be on a winning team.

On the player side, the off-season was also used to extensively reshape the roster. Several of the trades made could probably be seen in the dual perspective of a new philosophy given the new coach and GM, and a desire to appease Chris Paul while getting younger, more athletic, and stronger defensively. As soon as the 2010 NBA Draft, this process started. Lottery pick Cole Aldrich and disappointing guard Morris Peterson were shipped to the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 21st and 26th picks in the draft. Those picks were subsequently used on forwards Craig Brackins and Quincy Pondexter. On August 11, the Hornets shipped out surprising rookie Darren Collison and swing man James Posey to the Indiana Pacers for small forward Trevor Ariza from the Houston Rockets in a four team trade. In a separate trade on the same day, another disappointment, former lottery pick Julian Wright was traded to the Toronto Raptors for shooting guard Marco Belinelli. On September 23, 2010, the Hornets sent rookie Craig Brackins and power forward Darius Songaila to the Philadelphia 76ers for guard Willie Green and center Jason Smith. Finally, just before the start of the regular season on October 23, the Hornets acquired point guard Jerryd Bayless from the Portland Trail Blazers for a conditional first round draft pick.

With this drastic overhaul of the roster, the Hornets seemingly accomplished getting younger, more athletic and potentially a lot better defensively. Several earlier mistakes were corrected in shipping out Peterson, Posey and Wright. The cost primarily was the loss of Collison and potentially the future first round draft pick. When the 2010-11 NBA season started only three players (Paul, West and Stojakovic) were left from the team that won the Southwest Division just over two years prior. Despite all the efforts toward reshaping the roster competitively, most pundits predicted a difficult season for the Hornets, with only few considering even an 8th seed possible. However, the team got off to an impressive start. On November 5, the Hornets broke a team record with 5 straight wins to begin the season. The team then extended the streak to 8 straight wins to begin the season. The team also held their first 10 opponents to below 100 points. Later in the season, the team tied a club record with 10 straight wins on January 26, 2011.

On the ownership side, the buyout by Chouest fell through in early December 2010. Because Shinn is not in a financial position to continue to run the team, the NBA was expected to purchase and run the team while looking for a local owner. After losing a bid to buy the Golden State Warriors, Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation, has noted that he was willing to buy the Hornets and move them to San Jose, California.[20] The NBA completed their purchase of the Hornets from George Shinn and Gary Chouest in December 2010 for an estimated $300 million. On Jan 24, 2011, the state, city, and local businesses of New Orleans came together and raised enough money to buy enough tickets to block an escape clause that would have allowed the team to walk away from its lease at New Orleans Arena because of low attendance.


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