For the 1998-99 season, Glen Rice was traded to the Lakers and the Hornets got Eddie Jones and Elden Campbell.
Their headcoach Cowens resigned and was replaced by Paul Silas. Their record got worse and failed to get to the playoffs.
The next season showed hope that they can return as an elite team. They got Derrick Coleman as free agent and Baron Davis in the NBA Draft as the 3rd overall pick. Their substitute Bobby Phils died in an automobile accident and retired his jersey in 2000. They ended the season with 49-33 record and moved on to the playoffs. They lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round.
For the 2000-01 season, they finished the season with 46-36 recorrd and got into the playoffs. They shocked the Miami Heat in the first round and advanced to the semifinals. They lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the series.
The Hornets managed to return to the playoffs the next season with their record 44-38. They won over the Orlando Magic in the first round but lost to the New Jersey Nets in the next. Because of the franchise finishing last in league attendance, the NBA approved the deal for the Hornets to move to the New Orleans in the next season.
Their first game in New Orleans was a win over the Utah Jazz and they retired the jersey of Pete Maravich. They qualified for the playoffs in their first season in New Orleans but got beaten by the Phildelphia 76ers in the first round.
The next season, the Hornets fired Silas and hired Tim Floyd. They finished the season with a 41-41 record barely making it to the playoffs. They were defeated by the Miami Heat in the first round in seven games.
Again, they fired the head coach Floyd, and replaced Byron Scott before starting the season. It was the worst season of the franchise finishing 18 wins and 64 losses, their first losing record in 15 years.
Due to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the Hornets temporarily transferred to Oklahoma City for two seasons. They got Chris Paul from the 2005 NBA Draft as the fourth pick. They started the 2005-2006 season better than what others had expected and ended it with 38-44 record. Their standing was not enough to get them into the playoffs. Chris Paul was named the rookie of the year that season.
In 2006-2007 season, they acquired Tyson Chandler from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for JR Smith and PJ Brown. They also got Peja Stojakovic and Bobby Jackson as their reserved PG. They played their 35 home games in Oklahoma City and 6 in New Orleans. They finished the season 39-43.
In the next season, they successfully ended the season with 56-26 record and winning their first Southwest Division title and was the 2nd seed of the Western Conference. They beat the Dallas Mavericks in the first round and later on got lost in the hands of the San Antonio Spurs.
In 2008, the Hornets modified its logo and uniforms. In that season, they retained their key players and added James Posey from the free agency. As they the lead by West and Paul, they did not improve or retained their previous record with a disappointing 49-33 resulting them to be the 7th seed of the Western Conference. They got an early exit in the first round of the postseason against the Nuggets.
The next season, as a rebuilding season for the Hornets, they traded Chandler for Emeka Okafor from the Charlotte Bobcats. They got Darren Collison from the draft which gave them depth in backcourt and also acquired Marcus Thornton. They also moved Antonio Daniels to the Timberwolves in exchange for Bobby Brown and Darius Songaila. They began the season with a disappointing record and fired Byron Scott and replaced him with Jeff Bower. They finished the season with a losing record of 37-45.
In 2010, they acquired Forward Trevor Ariza from the Houston Rockets in exchange of shipping out Darren Collison and James Posey in the four team trade.