The new Hornets owner is none other than current New Orleans Saints owner and billionaire Tom Benson, who will purchase the team from the NBA for a cool $338 million.
Earlier in the week, a group led by long-time NBA coach Mike Dunleavy and an investor named Raj Bhathal were considered to be the favorites, but when Benson emerged, the league quickly turned toward the Saints owner due to this ties to New Orleans and intent to keep the team in Louisiana and not relocate.
As part of the purchase agreement, Benson is required to pay 10 percent of the total purchase price up front– $33.8 million– to begin the completion of the sale.
The move is positive for all parties involved for multiple reasons.
The NBA has finally managed to get the Hornets off of their books, something they had been looking to do for some time since their purchase of the team from George Shinn in December 2010.
With solid local ownership now in place– regardless of the conflicts of interest that could arise given that Benson now owns two teams in the same city– the Hornets were also able to negotiate an arena lease deal which will keep them in the Big Easy at least through 2024.
If the Hornets, and the NBA, needed anything for the New Orleans franchise, it was a promise of stability.
With rumors of the team’s possible contraction and relocation floating around since the purchase from George Shinn, the deal done today marks a new era in Hornets basketball, one that should be much brighter than its past.
More takes on Tom Benson’s purchase of the New Orleans Hornets:
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