NBA close to selling the Hornets?

Came across this today on Hoopsworld:

NBA commissioner David Stern has hinted a few times that deal could happen in the first part of 2012, and Sperling agrees that’s a possible time line.

"It’s realistic that we will have a deal done by the end of June," explained Sperling. "We’re still aiming for that. These transactions have a life of their own and they move at their own pace.

"Sometimes transactions get done quickly and yet it still takes some time to close it. Sometimes it takes a long time to announce it but they close quickly. Every transaction’s a little different, but I think the timeframe that the commissioner has outlined is still the timeframe we’re shooting for."

The Hornets have the basic outline of a new long-term lease all but done. That deal would likely lock the franchise in New Orleans through 2025. The new agreement would include upgrades on New Orleans Arena and additional revenue streams for the team. There is talk that a new TV deal also awaits a new owner – one that would almost triple TV revenue.

Combined with a better labor agreement, the Hornets are no longer bad business and it seems as many as nine different suitors see the team the same way.

"When you put all of those pieces together there is a great opportunity here for a buyer," explained Sperling. "I think that’s why we’ve had so much interest from buyers.

"We’ve had a lot of levels of interest in this franchise. I think these are people who live in New Orleans or people who have connections here, and there are also potential buyers who don’t have connections here but who understand that this franchise is going to stay here."

The only thing that remains is to announce who it’s going to be…

The article doesn't mention any names, but we already are aware of a host of candidates. We've specifically heard about interest from Morris Bart, Gary Chouest and Jamal Mashburn in the not so distant past. Today, Hornets247 mentions that Tom Benson and, more interestingly, another former NBA player is also presumably in the foray. Sounds like the stars are aligning, eh Hornet fans?

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