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New Orleans Hornets may go up for sale, finally

Apr 7, 2010, 11:23 AM EDT

David Stern was trying to convince George Shinn to sell the Hornets back when personal hatred of the owner — and it was white-hot rage and hatred — drove the fans away and the team out of Charlotte.

Now, finally, in another city, that sale may happen, according to Jason Reid of the Times-Picayune.

In what could become an offseason of significant change for the franchise, New Orleans Hornets owner George Shinn might consider selling his majority share he has controlled since the team’s inception in 1988.

Hornets’ officials on Tuesday would neither confirm nor deny that Shinn is interested in selling his share to minority owner Gary Chouest, who in 2007 purchased a 25-percent stake in the NBA franchise for $62 million.

Post Katrina, it has been Chouest that has kept the Hornets afloat. He has brought in many of the big sponsors, he has pumped in the cash.

And something needs to be done for a Hornets team that missed the playoffs this year after cutting payroll, and likely will have to cut more this summer. The Hornets are on the hook for $73 million in payroll next year, which will be millions over the luxury tax threshold. The reason is largely the $14.3 million Peja Stojakovic is owed in the final year of his deal. To get their payroll down would either mean moving rotation players like Mo Peterson, or getting someone to take on Stojakovic looking for the cap relief next summer. But nobody is taking on just Peja’s salary, they are going to want something of value with him. Like Darren Collison. A lot of people will ask.

Something needs to be done so Chris Paul doesn’t bolt when he can opt out of his deal in the summer of 2012. New ownership might be the first step.

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