There were big changes in Honolulu at the start of the off-season. Long time owner Wade Tejeda sold the Inferno to Jeff Medina who in now in charge.
Tejeda bought the team in 2017 and he was a patient owner and did let the team develop. It took a few years, 5 in fact, to get them to a winning record. But the team did so in 2022 for the first time under Tejeda and should never have a losing record under him ever again.
2022 was also the 1st playoff appearance for Tejeda as an owner but till now, when he sold the team, he should always be in the playoffs, a run of 12 playoffs in a row. The team never won a cup with him and actually never got further than the conference finals. But it was a good run they had.
The team also brought him profit every year, between 10 and 36 million. The team never made any minus and he paid it back raising the small budget the Inferno had when he arrived from 84 million to 104 in his last season. he was reinvesting some of his profit every year. As he should, since he made a lot of money with the team.
So we want to say thank you to Wade Tejeda for being a nice and patient owner. the team and the fans will miss you.
Now new owner Jeff Medina comes in and he sure did not get of to a good start with the team and even a worse start with the fans.
His first move was to cut the budget back to were it was 18 years ago. He cut 19 millions and made it just over 85 million. Now that would be easier to deal with in Boston or Anaheim, who now have 40 million more than the Inferno , but for a small market team that is a huge blow.
Considering the timing, it makes it worse. Last year the team trade for star Don McDaniel who had 1 year left on his deal, but with bird rights that should not be any problem to resign him. McDaniel and fellow star Cary Fisher were free agents this off season and the team 2 biggest names. The Inferno managed to get Fisher back, but the budget did not allow a max offer to McDaniel and so he left for the cash and the team is left without him.
As we said, a huge blow to the team and not a lot you could do in free agency to fill that hole he left. Neither the cap nor the budget room was left. While the rest of the team looks at least OK, small forward really looks shaky now.
No wonder the fans are upset and not very happy. A lot of them want Tejeda back and already are calling for Medina to sell the team again.
One fan said: “Maybe our new owner slashed the budget because he hates Honolulu and wants to move to a bigger city? It’s like the movie “Major League.” He’s sabotaging the team to create an excuse to move.”
It is safe to say the fan base is not happy and neither is General Manager Sascha Zerwas.
“What can I say? Am I happy about the budget cut? For sure not and it did cost us a star player. But I have a job to do and try my best to field a good team that can bring us back to the playoffs. I have to work with what I have. Even though I wish it was different.”
Time will tell if that goal works out and the team makes it to the playoffs with their new, unloved owner.
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