Prepare the gumbo, alert Bourbon Street and call 7-foot Rich
Kelley to see if he wants to make a comeback. When asked to pick
the best site for a new NBA team, our panel of voters favored
the Big Easy. "I don't think we should expand," said Portland
assistant general manager Jim Paxson, "but if we do, let's give
the name Jazz back and go to New Orleans."
The Jazz originated there in 1974-75, never winning more than 40
games in any of the next five seasons before moving to Salt Lake
City. Of the 29 players, coaches and executives we polled, seven
wanted the league to return to New Orleans. "It's the best city
that we don't go to," said one G.M.
San Diego finished second with five votes, Nashville received
four and St. Louis and Memphis got two apiece. For all the talk
of international expansion, Mexico City was the only site
outside the U.S. and Canada to receive a vote. "There are so
many fans there, it would help the NBA continue to grow," said
Sacramento assistant G.M. Wayne Cooper.
Several voters agreed with Paxson that the talent pool has been
too diluted by expansion already. Instead of adding a franchise,
said Orlando general manager John Gabriel, "I'd move a team. The
Carolinas need another one. Those people understand basketball."