The Charlotte Bobcats will make it official Tuesday that they want to change their nickname, a team source told the Observer Monday.
Sources already confirmed the Bobcats are moving ahead with plans to become the Charlotte Hornets as soon as the 2014-15 season. That would require NBA approval, but that shouldn’t be much trouble with the New Orleans Hornets giving up that nickname to become the Pelicans.
Incoming NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said it would take a minimum of about 18 months to rebrand a franchise. That roughly coincides with the timetable to start playing as the Hornets in the fall of 2014.
The original Hornets played here from 1988 to 2002, and thousands have advocated a name change for the expansion team that replaced the Hornets here in 2004. The Hornets’ teal-and-purple gear is still among the more popular color schemes in the NBA.
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CBSsports.com reported Friday night that the NBA was actively acquiring digital rights to names associated with a new “Charlotte Hornets’’ brand. The Observer confirmed Saturday morning that the team had decided it wants to become the Hornets. A Bobcats source said the timing of Tuesday’s announcement has been in the works for several weeks and is not in reaction to news reports over the weekend.
Team owner Michael Jordan will be at the announcement, planned for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Time Warner Cable Arena. That will coincide with the NBA holding its annual draft lottery.
The lottery will be held in New York at 8:30 and televised on ESPN. As the team with the NBA’s second-worst record last season (21-61), the Bobcats can pick no worse than fifth when the weighted lottery is settled.