I think the inability of the NBA to find buyers, or complete sale of the two franchises that are currently for sale proves that the NBA should contract. Of course that is a separate issue. The NBA finds itself in a prickly PR dilemma. Minority owner Gary Chouest no longer want to buy a majority share and principal owner George Shinn is done spending his money on the operation of the team. No he will sell the Hornets to the NBA, in a move that smacks of corporate welfare, cash his check and the future of this team in New Orleans remains in doubt.
That is a PR nightmare for the league as the Hornets as well as the New Orleans Saints have been credited with helping to revive the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina. A lot of that might be hype, but it is the perception out there and if the Hornets were to leave the city it would cast a negative light on the NBA. The problem here is New Orleans is not a great NBA market, and the Hornets have been a troubled franchise for most of its existence.
Chouest refusal to buy larger piece of the team is directly tied to the economic shape of New Orleans and Louisiana. The simple fact here is the Hornets are down attendance wise, and that might be due to the composition of the team as well as the economy. The good news is the team is being sold to the NBA because everyone involved would like to see this team sold to folks who will keep it in New Orleans.
There are no easy answers for this club, as it currently resides in one of the smallest NBA markets, and has some of the lowest ticket prices the league over. We will have to wait and see on this one.