SBD/Issue 62/Franchises

Franchise Notes

Whitfield Says Bobcats Have Not
Contemplated Re-Acquiring Hornets Nickname

Bobcats President & COO Fred Whitfield said re-acquiring the Hornets nickname for Charlotte's NBA team is "not something we've even contemplated." The Hornets' future in New Orleans is uncertain after Owner George Shinn was forced to sell the team to the NBA, but Whitfield said of acquiring the nickname, "We wouldn't contemplate that as a possibility unless we knew it could be a reality." When asked about "renaming the team or rebranding the product in other ways, Whitfield said that's a more complicated process than fans probably realize." Whitfield: "When you do something that massive, it changes everything at the league level -- we're talking about authentic jerseys. The expense is in the millions and it takes several years to work out. New uniforms, new colors -- and all that goes through Adidas" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/9).

THINGS ARE LOOKING UP: In DC, Adam Kilgore notes the Nationals will leave the MLB Winter Meetings this afternoon having "signed Jayson Werth, competed for Cliff Lee and earned a new reputation as one of the boldest, most aggressive and least thrifty teams of the offseason." The "merits of the Werth contract will be decided over seven years," but "already, in one week, it has changed the Nationals' image." Nationals GM Mike Rizzo: "I see the perception of the fan base in Washington seeing us as a team to be excited about, because we're going in the right direction" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/9).

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: ESPN CHICAGO's Doug Padilla reported White Sox officials are saying that Chair Jerry Reinsdorf "did not enter last-minute negotiations to make sure a three-year, $37.5 million Paul Konerko deal got done Tuesday night." White Sox Senior VP & GM Ken Williams: "He's not happy with being portrayed as coming in on the white horse to save the day, because he really -- you know, he's got a close relationship with Paul. He really tried to stay out of this as much as possible." Padilla wrote Konerko is "like family to Reinsdorf so of course he didn't want his personal feels for a player to cloud the negotiating process" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 12/8).

NEW RECRUIT: In DC, Steven Goff cited a source as saying that the MLS Galaxy are "awaiting word" from AC Milan MF Ronaldinho and his representatives about his "interest in joining the club next season." The source said the MLS team "doesn't want to wait any longer" and would like to "move on with or without him" in the next week or so. Goff noted finances are "apparently not an issue, just Ronaldinho's level of interest in coming to MLS from AC Milan" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/7).

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