It's safe to say that things could not be going worse for the Charlotte Bobcats. Actually, that's not safe to say — Michael Jordan's team could have fallen to fourth overall in Wednesday's NBA draft lottery drawing, and instead came out with the second overall pick. That second overall pick, though, won't result in all-world Kentucky center Anthony Davis coming to Charlotte, despite whatever the hell Scoop Jackson was attempting to get across in his Friday column. And possibly as a reaction to this, the team's declining fortunes, and the 26th-ranked attendance figures from 2011-12, the Bobcats are offering season tickets at an incredibly cheap rate for 2012-13.
And, if you buy for 2012-13, you get 'em for 2013-14 as well. A two-for-one deal. We pass this along not to make fun, nor to sell these ducats, but to point out how bad it's gotten for the franchise, and how it might be getting much worse before things perk up. And what are the going rates? They don't rate highly. From Nicholas Schwartz at Business Insider:
Fans in Charlotte can buy a season ticket for the 2012-13 season — seats are available for as low as $537.50 — and get a season ticket for the 2013-14 season absolutely free. That's 82 games. For $537.50, or six dollars and 55 cents a game.
Now, you might not have an available $500 or so to drop on a full season package (though you pay these off in installments), but even if this might be out of your or my price range, this is still ridiculously cheap in comparison to other season ticket fees. As Schwartz points out, it costs a hundred bucks just to be put on the waiting list for Los Angeles Lakers season tickets that you may never get a chance to buy (and think of that number, the next time the Lakers deal a key part for absolutely nothing to pare off the payroll).
This is, of course, assuming that fans will want to come out to these games at any price. The Bobcats set an NBA record for the worst winning percentage in league history last year, and the team's viewing "party" for Wednesday's lottery drawing was especially sad, and sparse.
No amount of Thomas Robinson or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is going to change that. No matter what Scoop wants to put together.
Things could perk up, slightly, in 2012-13. A new coach could earn some wins by his lonesome. Depending on what the team decides to do with restricted free agent D.J. Augustin, the Bobcats could be more than $20 million under next season's salary cap if the franchise smartly decides to use the amnesty clause on the three years and $26 million left on Tyrus Thomas' contract.
With little money left in the till, though, salary cap flexibility might not matter. Sadly for the team, and its community, a few years with a barely minimum payroll and improved attendance at cheaper ticket prices might have to do the trick, just to build the team's bank account up to good standing. You might scoff at the money Michael Jordan pulls in from his endorsement, but that cash pales in comparison to the sort of scratch his NBA owner colleagues work up at their other places of employment. It's not even close.
And to any NBA executive still smarting over the "conspiracy" to send Anthony Davis to New Orleans?
Michael Jordan's NBA team is dying on the vine.
The team that has boasted the only two African-American owners in league history is dying on the vine. The league's latest expansion team, just eight years in, is dying on the vine. Why in the hell wouldn't the league want to hand Charlotte the rights to Anthony Davis. For what, so the NBA could ratchet up its asking price for the Hornets up $10 million or $20 million?
So let's quell that talk, frustrated NBA executives (some of whom might be in Charlotte, right now), and just hope that a young team in a good basketball market can turn it around.
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- Michael Jordan