Soon, the NBA will own an NBA team.
When the league purchases the New Orleans Hornets outright, it will put them -- however temporarily -- in charge of a franchise that's made a habit of tempting fate. For one, there's the ongoing dance with Chris Paul. Now thatLeBron James is gone from Cleveland, Paul holds the dubious honor of "player who can single-handedly make or break a franchise." If you want to be more sanguine about it, the 25 year-old point guard is a constant kick in the ass for the Hornets. Other players, coaches and the front office know that, if they falter, and Paul wants out, they'll have forfeited the chance of a lifetime.
On top of that, there's the small matter of where the Hornets will play. Post-Katrina, New Orleans simply might not be big enough to support both the Saints and another team. George Shinn, as of today still the majority owner, is hardly the most predictable figure in sports, and is also supposedly quite cash-poor these days. If Chris Paul isn't on the verge of skipping town, then the Hornets are. And if the Hornets are, what exactly does it mean for Paul's future? This is, to say the least, a volatile situation, and to a certain extent, it makes sense that the league would step in and try to facilitate the most sane, orderly resolution possible.