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Gary Chouest wants to keep Hornets in New Orleans, so long as he doesn’t have to buy team

Dec 10, 2010, 10:13 PM EDT

Detroit Pistons v New Orleans Hornets Getty Images

Gary Chouest was oh, so close to buying the New Orleans Hornets. He already had 25 percent and was going to buy out the rest from George Shinn. Then he got a better look at the $83 million in debt they had, or his business supplying vessels to the off-shore gulf oil industry took a big hit after the BP oil spill, or whatever the reason he decided to pull back.

When he stepped away from buying the Hornets the league had to step in and take over the team, purchasing all of it from George Shinn. The league is also buying Chouest’s minority share.

But don’t thing that Chouest wants the team out of town. That’s not what he told the Associated Press. He said his goal is to keep the team in the city and didn’t rule out some level of future interest.

“As far as my future involvement, the purpose hasn’t changed as to why I invested from Day 1,” Chouest said. “The same situation still exists and the same reasoning for continuing to support the team still exists.”

Just to be clear, he wants all the perks of the Hornets in New Orleans, he just doesn’t want to be the one who has to pay for it. How very American.

Chouest would not comment on why his negotiations to buy the team fell apart.

David Stern has said the goal with the Hornets is to find an owner who wants to buy the team — at a nice little markup over what the league paid — and keep the team in New Orleans. How they accomplish that remains to be seen as the Hornets have some serious financial issues.

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