Hugh Weber Rumors
The New Orleans Hornets, who formally came under the domain of owner Tom Benson on Friday, will not retain president Hugh Weber, the man who helped guide the team through 17 months of league ownership and helped steer the franchise toward Benson’s purchase and its stability through 2024 with a renegotiated lease agreement.
The league office apparently approved a four-year contract extension for Gordon in the neighborhood of $50 million. By rejecting that, and waiting to become a restricted free agent at season’s end, Gordon can solicit four-year offers from other teams that will likely be higher or he could sign a five-year extension with the Hornets for closer to maximum money. “I think the facts are with Eric that are getting lost on people is that we would have loved to have Eric part of a committed relationship now, but the fact is if Eric was to sign anything less than a full max deal, he could only do it for four years,” Weber said. “This summer, potentially we could do it for five years, which is really what Eric in his communication with us said, ‘You know, I like it here. I like the coaching staff, I like the direction of the team, I like the city, and I want to be able to put an anchor down and say I’m going to be here for the long haul.’
“So it wasn’t about a lack of commitment. It was about an extended commitment. You saw a lot of guys around the league who didn’t get deals done, like (Portland’s Nicolas) Batum. It’s OK. With the new collective bargaining agreement, the rules are a little bit different. As Eric said in his statement, business is business. Sometimes you do things that seem counter to it, but it’s the right business decision, and you move on.”
But until a new owner is found, the Hornets, correctly or not, will continue to be viewed as a franchise in disarray. “What has it been, six months or a year that we’ve been talking about this time line of late January, early February, and guess what, we’re here,” said Weber. “We’re talking. And in a matter of weeks, our goal is to consummate a deal with local ownership to be able to stand up with the mayor and the governor and the new local owner and say we’re locally owned and operated and this team is here for generations to come. “That’s what this commitment is all about. Our concern now, our fans’ concern, is, ‘Is this my team or not? I don’t know.’ That kind of uncertainty we’ve been living with for three or four years. We want to put an end to it and say, ‘This is your team.’ ”
When the NBA assumed ownership of the team, Jac Sperling was appointed governor of the team by the league and was paired with team president Hugh Weber. The two set out to prove that not only were the Hornets a valuable and viable franchise, but that NBA business could be conducted in New Orleans on a much bigger scale. “When we started, the commissioner’s vision was to give New Orleans a chance to show what it could do in establishing itself as an NBA city for the long term,” Sperling explained to HOOPSWORLD. “That was our goal and our vision and we took it seriously from the very beginning. “There’s a great staff here. The governor and the mayor have been really supportive. Our fans are great. We just put our shoulders to the wheel from day one and came up with some ideas about what we needed to do to change.”
Team President Hugh Weber said Tuesday that calls to the club’s offices Monday would indicate another surge in season-ticket sales —the Hornets entered the day just 377 short of their goal of 10,000 — in the next week or so. “I think that when people, fans have something tangible now that they can see, which is a potential opening night that is just weeks away, and maybe start to talk more about our players, maybe sitting around the water cooler, definitely we see a pickup in interest,” Weber said. “And we had a lot of people who didn’t renew their tickets yet or didn’t buy yet and told us, ‘When you guys get a deal done, call me back.’
Having already sold 9,623 season tickets, word this past weekend of a new NBA collective bargaining agreement has meant an increase in interest for potential buyers of New Orleans Hornets season tickets. Team president Hugh Weber said Tuesday he feels that the 10,000-ticket goal the team set before the end of the last regular season should be surpassed in the coming days. “I think that when people, fans have something tangible now that they can see which is a potential opening night that is just weeks away and maybe start to talk about more about our players, maybe sitting around the water cooler, definitely we see a pickup in interest,” said Weber. “And we had a lot of people who didn’t renew their tickets yet or didn’t buy yet and told us ‘When you guys get a deal done, call me back.’