The New Orleans Professional Basketball Franchise Naming Debacle and How to Fix It

The good news for the 2011-2012 New Orleans Hornets: Saints owner Tom Benson bought the team from the league last weekend

The bad news for the 2011-2012 New Orleans Hornets: That was the only remarkable moment of the season

It has been a rough season for the Hornets with a faint glimmer of hope shining at the end of the tunnel. They lost Chris Paul (literally the only good player in the history of the franchise in that city) in a bizarre trade to the Clippers, and hardly saw any minutes from consolation prize Eric Gordon. Nineteen wins later, New Orleans is only a week away from the end of the regular season and the start of an offseason that will see them with two lottery picks and an owner that isn’t 29 other owners.

Sure, none of that good news is concrete and it’s probable that the Hornets will screw up a lot of that bright side, but it’s a start. More importantly, Benson has stated publicly that one of his offseason tasks will be to rename the team, because New Orleans isn’t a very Hornety town.

I’m a man who loves a good name change. It’s exciting, it changes the game, and it’s a chance to completely re-make a team. Remember a few years ago when the Seattle Supersonics moved to OKC and Oklahoma City Supersonics sounded so weird that the team had to change its name to the Thunder? Well the Sonics sucked and through the magic of the name change, a few years later the Thunder are competing for the Western Conference crown. Appropriate nicknames are crucial to success in today’s NBA.

In this case, it completely makes sense. If Benson wants to re-make the image of the team, a name change is a great way to start. Besides, “New Orleans Hornets” still doesn’t roll off the tongue. But getting rid of the old name doesn’t solve the problem, it just creates a new one. What should the new name be? Here’s my honest idea:

New Orleans NBA basketball franchise renaming 3-team trade proposal

New Orleans: Receives naming rights to “Jazz” from Utah

Utah: Receives naming rights to “Freeze” from defunct Utah indoor soccer league franchise, receives player to be named from Charlotte

Charlotte: Receives naming rights to “Hornets” from New Orleans, receives 8 regular season 2011-2012 wins from Utah

To help understand the name trade, here’s an illustration:

Why New Orleans does it: The Jazz name belongs to the people of New Orleans

Why Utah does it: They won’t make the playoffs as is and 8 fewer wins will get them a better draft pick, plus the name Freeze keeps with the tradition of Utah “z”-named teams and matches the city better

Why Charlotte does it: 8 more wins locks down the top spot in the lottery, but keeps them from being the worst team in the history of the NBA, more than doubling their win total; they lose a player to be named, but honestly, can you name a player on the Bobcats?

Honestly, tell me who stops this trade.

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