Saturday, August 9, 2008

Not Vultures, but the Noble Order of "Coragyps atratus"

More info regarding the Houston Comets. Links provided by Rebkell posters.

Link one is from Fox 26 in Houston, so there's no guarantee how long it will stay up on the website. I'll quote:

HOUSTON -- WNBA President Donna Orender was in Houston last month meeting with Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Houston Mayor Bill White to solicit their help in finding a new owner or ownership group for the Houston Comets.

"We are told they are seeking a change of ownership and they would like us to help them find a person, or a group of persons, to take over ownership of the team," said Emmett in an interview with FOX 26 Sports.

Mayor White concurs.

"We will be looking for some new local ownership of that team and that's what she wanted to talk about." White said.

Mayor Bill White of Houston has confirmed that the WNBA is now operating the Houston franchise.

Link two is from the Houston Roundball Review. From the article, the writer says sources have told Kris Gardner that there are two groups in Dallas that want to purchase the Comets and move them to Dallas.

Link three is from the Houston Chronicle. It is the only link with comments, some poignant, some smart, some douchebag.

Here are what the options are for Houston.

1. The WNBA remains in control of Houston. This is not a good idea. As a part-time baseball fan, I remember when Major League Baseball took control of the Montreal Expos for a while. As the General Manager of a WNBA-operated team, you're very restricted. The WNBA will want to keep expenses down and will forbid you from acquiring any costly player whose salary the WNBA'll have to pay. Furthemore, every other GM will call the WNBA and ask, "why should player X be trapped in Houston when I can trade player Y who is "just as good" and I can aquire player X for my own team?"

Houston would become a dumping ground for the WNBA. I'm sure Bill Laimbeer has Donna Orender on speed dial with his hand poised above the button. Meanwhile, the team would move sooner or later and Houston fans would be treated to some awful B-ball from a lame duck franchise.

2. The team finds another owner in Houston. The best option. However, if this owner doesn't have deep pockets - one Rebkell poster wrote "(T)eams can not operate with millionaires as owners. You need multi-millionaires...." - we could have the same problem two or three years down the line.

3. The team finds another owner elsewhere. The team moves. We have the Dallas Comets. Or the Baltimore Comets. Or the San Francisco Comets. Or the Tulsa Comets. Hey, Utah relocated to San Antonio and that seemed to have worked out quite well. Orlando's relocation worked well, too.

4. The team folds and is disbanded. There is another dispersal draft. However, given the weaknesses of the teams in the Eastern Conference, my suggestion would be that either a) the Comets be merged with the Dream, or b) the dispersal be limited to the non-playoff teams.

It's too early in the game to say how things will turn out. Houston was sort of the #1 candidate for the kind of team that would face financial trouble. I knew that Hilton Koch was in trouble in Houston. I remember reporting about some member of the staff who had not been paid. The team blogger sort of disappeared. They were not just running Houston on a shoestring, they were running it on an aglet (you can look it up).

However, given that this blog loves to play with statistics and given that we also like to speculate, let's assume option #4 is in effect. Houston has a dispersal draft. Who should the Atlanta Dream take, given that they have first pick?

Here is the Houston Comets in order of descending Wins Score:

1. Sancho Lyttle - 184.5
2. Michelle Snow - 183.5
3. Tina Thompson - 105
4. Shannon Johnson - 79.5
5. Hamechetou Maiga-Ba - 56.5
6. Roneeka Hodges - 35
7. Mistie Williams - 26.5
8. Erica White - 17.5
9. Tamecka Dixon - 14
10. Latasha Byears - 4
11. Sequoia Holmes - 3.5
12. Mwadi Mabika - 0.5
13. Marcedes Walker - minus 2.5
14. Ashley Shields - minus 8
15. Matee Ajavon - minus 8.5

So it seems that the players to grab are either Sancho Lyttle or Michelle Snow. Myself, I'd take Snow. Snow produces more points and furthermore, she's a Tennessee alum. Although that means more orange jerseys at Philips Arena. Ugh.


Q said...

Nice post.

If I remember correctly, the report out of Baltimore was the only one that mentioned "relocation" whereas the other cities were talking that correct?

Also, interesting that Matee Ajavon ranked so low in win score...but she's ranked lowly in most efficiency metrics I've looked at, even among oh well...

pt said...

Q, yes you're exactly right. Baltimore's mayor was looking for a team to relocate. Dallas is supposedly interested in acquiring the Comets franchise, and San Francisco and Tulsa have been mentioned as talking expansion. Boston has been mentioned but only by the WNBA faithful; I haven't heard anything out of Boston.

As for Matee Ajavon, she doesn't do too badly on my college prospects analyzer. Either you (or someone else) suggested putting the 2007-08 draft class in and see how well they did in the 2008 season vs. how well they were predicted to do. As soon as I have the stats inputted, I'll have that up.