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Sale of Hornets could be completed by middle of April

Mar 20, 2012, 2:01 PM EDT

Detroit Pistons v New Orleans Hornets Getty Images

With a new lease deal in place to keep the team in the New Orleans Arena, the sale of the Hornets appears closer than ever.

While we keep hearing potential dates, there is a very good one coming up next month, notes the Times-Picayune (via Sports Business Daily).

The NBA Board of Governors has a regularly scheduled spring meeting on its calendar in mid-April, and that would be the ideal time for a sale to be approved. Sources indicate the process, which on the surface has seemed to move along at a plodding pace, could accelerate in the coming days because of that window.

The sale can be approved by conference call at any time after that, but the league would like to get out of the ownership business as soon as possible

As for who the new owner will be, it looks like a previously discussed California group, but the details are in flux.

One group includes Raj Bhathal, owner of one the largest swimwear manufacturing businesses in the country, partnered with San Antonio car dealer Larry Benson, brother of Saints owner Tom Benson, and former NBA coach and executive Mike Dunleavy, who has been the front man in that faction’s negotiations.

(Gary) Chouest, the Louisiana-born owner of Edison Chouest Offshore and one-time 35-percent owner of the Hornets, is the other party the league is courting. Sources somewhat familiar with the negotiations say they would not be surprised if Chouest, in the end, is part of the ownership group in some capacity. The Bhathal consortium has courted local investors and Chouest could end up among them, as could local attorney Morris Bart, who is on record as saying he’d be willing to buy into an ownership group on a modest basis.

Basically, the sooner the better. Everyone — even David Stern — is on board with that.

  1. zacksdad - Mar 20, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Perfect, now Chris Kaman cannot be waived by the new owners and be on the Heat’s Playoff roster. He must be waived by March 23rd for that to happen. Surprised Stern does not still try to do it to help the Heat.

  2. redstar504 - Mar 20, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Let me ask you a question why at this point would the Hornets simply waive their best player who has an expiring contract? Why would they do that this late in the season what is the net savings?

    Seriously, the Hornets are going to end up keeping him around on a new deal. He has played great and tried hard every night. Look for the hornets to keep him and amnesty Emeka Okafor.

  3. thekingdave - Mar 20, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Cool now they can ship Paul to the Lakers with Gasol headed to Houston and Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic, Luis Scola, and Lamar Odom coming back to New Orleans. Oh wait…

  4. sweetnlow44 - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    Yeah, keep them in New Orleans so that, still, nobody will watch and support them and they can continue to lose money for the NBA.

    Move the team to Seattle where there’s at least hope that the scorned Sonics fans will come back and support an NBA team.

    Or better yet, Mr. Stern, do the sport of basketball a favor and retire.

  5. comeonnowguys - Mar 21, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    Kinda OT… I like that picture used.

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