Attendance at last night's game between the New Orleans Hornets and the Philadelphia 76ers was 13,433 (not bad for a Monday). The three home games before that drew 15,423, 15,626, and (when Kobe and the Lakers came to town) 18,018 fans. According to the Hornets' contract, the team can opt out of its lease at New Orleans Arena if the 13 home games from Dec. 1 to Jan. 17 see an average attendance below 14,213 per game; with the improvement in the last four games' attendance, the team's 10-game average stands at 14,037. So if the Hornets can add just a couple hundred fans to their ranks in the coming weeks, they can finally dash whatever hope (meager as it's always been) Seattle hoops fans had of seeing the team come to Jet City.
As a Bleacher Report story says on Monday, this wouldn't be the first time that the Hornets have escaped the threat of losing the team thanks to a surge in attendance. In 2008, the team squeaked by with an average attendance of 14,735 fans per game from January through the end of the season.
That labor strife might actually prove to be further temporary salvation for the Hornets, though, as it would take a brave, maybe foolhardy ownership group to step forward to purchase and relocate the team in the face of an impending lockout and possible changes to the league's economic structure.
At any rate, the scenario for keeping the Hornets in the Crescent City is looking better. And the chances that the team will end up in Seattle are fast going from slim to virtually nonexistent.