Bethlehem Shoals wrote an interesting column for Fanhouse the other day about (former) Hornets owner George Shinn, wondering aloud (or at least in words) if the NBA was actually doing Shinn a favor by taking over the team, like the NBA’s version of a government bailout program.

With that, I emailed Shoals and here he is, in voice form.

Shoals and I talk about the FreeDarko party and how amazing it is that some of the authors of their new book had never met until that day. Is there something romantic about never meeting someone you know so much about and work with every day? Did I just call the blog world romantic?

We then shift to the Hornets, and Shinn. We talk about the prospect of Shinn moving the team, or selling the team to a group that would put it in another town, and wonder if the league bought the team because it simply couldn’t let the team leave New Orleans.

Shinn couldn’t care less about about his own person PR — can you, off the top of your head, name any company that any professional sports owner owns (other than Bob Kraft) — so clearly this was more about David Stern’s personal PR than Shinn not wanting to leave NOLA. I suppose it’s more about the PR of the league than just Stern, but at this point the NBA’s PR is tethered to Stern’s personal PR so it’s all rather muddled as to who is spinning for whom.

The point is, New Orleans has an NBA team because David Stern and the NBA don’t want to give up on “Post-Katrina” New Orleans, a term Shoals uses several times before we try to figure out exactly what “Post-Katrina” really means. When does New Orleans, in a sports context, stop being “Post-Katrina?” The Saints won a Super Bowl last year, so did that end the struggling? Can the Hornets leave the city without worrying about being “that team” who left “that city?” How different would a move be for this franchise when compared to Seattle?

Besides, can the city actually support two professional teams at this point? Is it prudent for the NBA to want the team to stay in a city that may not be able, financially, to support them?

Last — well with me and Shoals nothing is really last — what does this mean for Chris Paul? If he decides to leave “Post-Katrina” New Orleans, is he the next LeBron? Is betraying a struggling city tantamount to leaving your home town? And can the franchise survive…in that city…without that player?

Thanks for listening, and thanks to Shoals who is fighting off sickness to talk to me.