Scott wants Hornets to stay in Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Hornets coach Byron Scott said Wednesday he
would rather have the team return to Oklahoma City than go back to
New Orleans next season.

"I would love to play here," Scott said after the Hornets'
84-68 loss to San Antonio at Oklahoma City's Ford Center. "I would
love to stay here and play in Oklahoma City next year. I think our
guys are at home here. I think the fans have been unbelievable. Out
of our 12 home wins, I think the fans out there have won half of
them. So, I would prefer to stay here next year."

The Hornets are 12-7 in Oklahoma this season and have already
exceeded their win total from last season. After going 18-64 last
season, the Hornets are 20-22 this season following the loss to the

The NBA has said it would like to make a decision about the
Hornets' 2006-07 home by the end of this month, so the team could
move forward with season ticket sales. Displaced by Hurricane
Katrina, the Hornets will play 36 of their 41 home games in
Oklahoma City. Three others are scheduled at the New Orleans Arena
in March, and games were played at alternate sites in Baton Rouge,
La., and Norman, Okla.

Scott said he doesn't think the decision has been a distraction
for his players, but he doesn't want to wait until the summer to
find out.

"I hope the NBA makes up their mind as soon as possible," he

After playing a December game in front of a half-full arena in
Baton Rouge, Scott advocated moving two other games from Louisiana
to Oklahoma because turnout at the Ford Center has given the team a
home-court advantage. Eleven of the 18 games at the Ford Center
have been sellouts.

The team's contract with Oklahoma City contains an option to
return for next season, but its lease with the New Orleans Arena
has language suggesting the Hornets would be required to return if
the arena is suitable for play.

The NBA will have the final say on where the team plays.

"There's no pressure on me whatsoever on any decision that they
make," Scott said. "As far as would you like to stay here -- or
would I? From a head coach's standpoint, I would like to stay here
and play next year."