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Team name change from Bobcats to Hornets already financial windfall in Charlotte


This is how much the people of Charlotte hated the name Bobcats:

The league has approved a name change back to the Charlotte Hornets but that will not take place until the end of this coming season, yet already the team is feeling a financial windfall from it. (Unless you think fans are lining up to see Cody Zeller play.)

That according to the Sporting News, which spoke to a Charlotte marketing executive (hat tip to EOB).

Most notably, new ticket sales are up 59 percent from last year.

“What’s really encouraging about that is the vast majority of those people have taken advantage of the two-year season ticket program,” (Bobcats’ executive vice president Pete) Guelli said…

The story is equally encouraging on the season ticket renewal side, where the Bobcats are up 11 percent year-over-year, already surpassing last year’s renewal number with months to go until the preseason begins in October. Many of those fans renewing also have taken advantage of the two-year ticket plan offered to new season ticket buyers.

We know there is a love of basketball in Charlotte, but the management of the team since the days George Shinn was running a virtual “what not to do” public relations clinic has been bad. Michael Jordan has not been able to turn it around so far.

But getting back the Hornets name is a big step — the nickname hornet has been tied to Charlotte going back to the Revolutionary War when a Red Coat general called the city a “hornet’s nest.” The city identifies with hornets, right down to one being on the police uniform. The name Bobcats had no local ties (although the owner who picked it was Bob Johnson… so guess where people thought it came from). The name Hornets had moved to New Orleans when Shinn moved the team there, but new New Orleans owner Tom Benson wanted the name changed to something local to that city and went with Pelicans. That freed up the Hornets name.

This is a start. On the court, with Al Jefferson in the post, the Bobcats should be better next season, but not good. However, if you’re picking a year to be bad, this is it.

If the Bobcats get a top prospect in next year’s draft the will be closer to what will really fill up the arena — a winning team.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.