TP: Although you have a lease that legally binds your team to play in New Orleans until 2012, why do you make statements in Oklahoma City that cast doubt about your impending return?
SHINN: When I respond to questions asked about storms or whatever, I don't have any guarantees about what's going to happen. I don't have a crystal ball, and I don't read tea leaves. Our return makes business sense for all parties for the state and for New Orleans. Our goal is to move forward and nothing has changed. Our plan is imminent, we plan to come back to New Orleans. If I say something good about New Orleans, they write something bad about me in Oklahoma City. It's very frustrating and annoying trying to balance it out. I just decided that I'm going to put this in God's hands and pray for guidance. I'm going to bust my chops to do everything right.
T-P: How soon will it be before you make the announcement that the 2007-08 season tickets for a 41-game home schedule at New Orleans Arena are available to fans?
SHINN: That's something that will be done in conjunction with the NBA, and we're going through a process right now. I'm trying to finalize an investor group. We are working on sponsorships, and we're selling tickets for the six games this season. It's a work in progress, and the NBA is monitoring our results, and they're also helping. I can't forecast what's going to happen. I can't say sponsors are going to step up right now. I do know a deal is not a deal until it's signed, sealed and delivered.
What a big, fat, steaming pile of vagueness.
If I lived in New Orleans, I would not be satisfied with this. Here's why: if the team really intends, long-term, to be in New Orleans, Shinn would not be talking about how hard it is to simultaneously keep up good PR in two cities. It would be "thank you very much for a wonderful visit, Oklahoma City, I'm excited to head home."
This stuff, that you're saying? You need an investor group? Your plan is imminent (shouldn't that plan be done?)? You're peddling tickets for the measly six games? This all sounds very much like we're just about to get to square one to me. It's not just leaving the door open--it's taking it off its hinges. It would be better for PR in both cities, I'd imagine, if you'd stop talking to the press entirely until you knew what it is that you wanted to do.