The NBA announced today the finalization of their proposed takeover of the New Orleans Hornets. Officially, the league's 29 other teams purchased the Hornets from majority owner George Shinn. The transaction is pending a vote by the NBA's Board of Governers.
I wanted to ensure that the team remained in New Orleans, if that was possible, and recognized that the league could provide the necessary funding while a new owner was sought in New Orleans and negotiations with the city and the state could continue.
New Orleans owes a debt of gratitude to George for bringing NBA basketball back to the city. I have greatly enjoyed the experience with the Hornets and, of course, will continue to support the team.
The Hornets have a strong management team in Hugh Weber, Dell Demps, and Monty Williams and we have recruited Jac Sperling, a seasoned sports executive and New Orleans native, to be the team's chairman and governor, with Hugh serving as president and alternate governor. I have notified Governor Jindal and Mayor Landrieu about this transaction and will continue our dialogue with them about ways to strengthen the franchise for new ownership in New Orleans.
The league has assured me that management will have the necessary resources to build on that success and grow the business through increased ticket and sponsorship sales, keep the team competitive and further the team's relationship with the fans of New Orleans.
According to reports, Gary Chouest wanted to stay on as a minority owner, but the NBA insisted on buying out the team in full. This, of course, may lead to speculation that Chouest may still be in the picture in terms of the team's future ownership situation.
Here's a live link to the NBA conference call.