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Old 10-27-2010, 01:58 PM   #8
Copperhead
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Default Re: Shinn selling to Chouest?

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Sale of the New Orleans Hornets to Gary Chouest seems to still be on track

When the New Orleans Hornets open the 2010-11 season tonight at the New Orleans Arena against the Milwaukee Bucks, the state of the team's ownership will remain unsettled but, league sources indicate, still on track to be sold to billionaire minority owner Gary Chouest.

It's unlikely -- but a slim possibility -- that franchise founder and majority owner George Shinn could make an appearance for the game, although Shinn has not been around the team during preseason save for the Oct. 16 exhibition played in Johnson City, Tenn., near his new home.

Chouest, who has maintained a low profile since acquiring a stake in the team in 2007 that has swelled to 35 percent, seems to be accepting a more visible role in the team's operation.

At last week's tipoff luncheon, Chouest was front and center at the festivities, and his recent contributions to the franchise were repeatedly noted by various speakers.

It has become clear, therefore, that Chouest soon will be in complete control, although when that will happen remains uncertain.

League sources have indicated that both parties are attempting to work out final details of an agreement that was first reached in May after word leaked in early April that Shinn was ready to relinquish his controlling interest in the team.

Hornets President Hugh Weber declined to speak about the current state of the transaction.

Bill Sutton, the associate director and professor in the Devos Sport Business Management program at the University of Central Florida and a former consultant with the NBA, cautioned Tuesday that ownership transfers are a complicated and time-consuming undertaking.

"I know the deal has been in the works for a while, and it has gone back and forth," said Sutton, who was the team's NBA account manager when the Hornets relocated to New Orleans in 2002 and for several years after. "It has dragged on for a long time. There are a lot of details, and a lot of things that George is concerned about. But I'm excited that it's going to get done, because George would like to retire and move on to something else, and I think the new owner is excited.

"I think George is seeing the sunset and wants to enjoy the sunset. I think that's a great thing. And at the same time, I think it's a great thing for New Orleans. It's always good when someone wants to come in and take the team from where it is to the next level. It's important. It's also nice it's a local guy. I like that commitment."

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Introducing Gary Chouest

Last edited by Copperhead : 10-27-2010 at 02:01 PM.
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