NBA should be talking contraction; The first five teams to go

Josh Smith

Josh Smith

The NBA isn’t losing money, but NBA franchises such as the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers are.

Fans and media alike are complaining the game is watered down and NBA Commissioner David Stern has said contraction, which would eliminate at least one struggling franchise, should be on the table.

Last season league-wide losses hit the $350 million dollar mark and the NBA’s overall revenue is threatened each game by its weakest franchise.

With NBA players joining forces and making super teams, the NBA’s timing of contraction talk could be just smoke screens and mirrors to scare owners who are not pulling in a profit. But if it becomes a reality, these are five cities that could be out of an NBA franchise.

Atlanta Hawks
One figures if you make the playoffs four consecutive years in a row it might bring the fans to the arena….think again.
The Hawks have called Atlanta home since 1968 and even though they have playoff appearances, victory’s and a solid roster they still finished 22nd in overall attendance.
The ownership overvalued their assets and knowingly went over their budget. They handed out huge contracts after advancing in the playoffs but still weren’t even filling the seats in the area with those players.
California developer and pizza chain owner Alex Meruelo was to buy the Hawks but an investigation into his financial records put an end to his dream to be the first NBA Hispanic owner.
Instead, the group known as Atlanta Spirit remains in charge of the team it has owned since 2004, when it acquired the Hawks and the Thrashers of the NHL from Time Warner.

The Thrashers are now in Winnipeg playing as the Jets.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings have been in Sacramento for 27 years and now have turned into the Brett Favre of the NBA

Once ready to pack up and leave for Anaheim to become the Royals the Kings minority owner George Maloof Jr. changed his mind.

The Kings long-term future in Sacramento remains uncertain beyond 2011-12, the L.A. Times reported, citing league executives.

Co-owner Joe Maloof says his family is still deciding whether to move the franchise to Anaheim or stay in California’s capital city.

Maloof told The Associated Press  that no decision has been made and he’s “as anxious as anybody” to find out if Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson can deliver on his promise for more sponsorship support and finally finance a plan for a new arena.

Let’s not rule out Las Vegas either as the Maloof brothers also own the Palms Casino and have major ties to the valley.

Indiana Pacers

Conseco Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis is losing that name more than a year after the namesake company dropped its use.

Executives of the Indiana Pacers and Carmel-based CNO Financial Group announced in 2011 that the arena will now be known as Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

It doesn’t matter what the name of the stadium is because the Pacers have lost money in 27 of the last 29 years of existence.

That also includes 11 of the last 12 seasons inside Conseco Fieldhouse. The Pacers are currently losing more than $6 million annually.

New Orleans Hornets

The Hornets were 26th in attendance per game last season only averaging 14,709 per night.

Since the NBA took over and the eventual loss of Chris Paul, it is going to take a number of moves to make this team a contender.

The Hornets, a playoff representative in the 2010-2011 season should never be at the bottom of attendance numbers.

The New Orleans economy is still trying to recover from the economic situation that were placed on them by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The city isn’t ready to support a football and basketball franchise.

Charlotte Bobcats

Even the great Michael Jordan can’t save the Charlotte Bobcats. Seven years ago, Robert L. Johnson paid an expansion fee of $300 million dollars to purchase the Bobcats. Two seasons ago, Jordan purchased the Bobcats for $175 million. Charlotte has already lost one NBA franchise; the Hornets left following the 2002 season. The Bobcats ranked 21st in attendance last season.

Charlotte is one of the league’s smallest markets and even when clinching a playoff berth in the 2009-2010 season they were 26th in attendance.