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Source: Hornets to submit bid to host NBA All-Star Weekend

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/11/17/17/A6Vyf.Em.138.JPG|316
    Robert Lahser - rlahser@charlotteobserver.com
    FILE - Time Warner Cable Arena in 2011.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/06/26/14/11/1djy1c.Em.138.jpeg|202
    John D. Simmons - jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com
    The Charlotte Hornets unveiled their new playing floor at Time Warner Cable Arena during a Thursday morning June 26, 2014 press conference. Besides the new Hornets logo at center court the floor features a honeycomb pattern.

The Charlotte Hornets plan to formally submit a bid Tuesday to host either the 2017 or 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend, a source close to the process said Monday.

The team and the Charlotte Sports Foundation have called a news conference for Tuesday morning. It’s expected that’s when a formal announcement of the Hornets’ pursuit will be made.

The All-Star Weekend was in Charlotte once before, in 1991, when the original Hornets played here.

While it’s been no secret the Hornets are interested in hosting the annual mid-February event at Time Warner Cable Arena, there are potential complications. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during a March visit to Charlotte that an All-Star bid would be contingent on the city agreeing to various upgrades to the arena.

“It’s part of the understanding here that the building remain state of the art,” Silver said in March. “Nothing dramatic is needed. But certainly an upgrade to the scoreboard, some things with the suites and the lighting.”

Under lease terms between the city and the Hornets, who manage the nine-year-old publicly-funded arena, the parties will intermittently review keeping the facility up to date. The team and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority compiled a list of potential improvements that would cost nearly $42 million.

While emphasizing those upgrades would be a key factor in Charlotte’s pursuit of an All-Star Weekend, Silver was otherwise encouraging on Charlotte’s chances in March.

“I’d love to bring the All-Star Game back here,” Silver said. “This is a wonderful community, a hotbed of basketball, not just pro but college as well.”

Silver was asked again about Charlotte’s All-Star prospects at his news conference during league meetings in Las Vegas in July. He said nothing significant has changed since his comments in March, reiterating both the arena upgrades and his encouraging the Hornets to make a bid.

The NBA awarded the 2015 All-Star Weekend to New York and the 2016 event to Toronto. A decision on 2017 and ’18 is expected sometime this coming winter or spring.

Rick Bonnell: (704) 358-5129; @rick_bonnell
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