New Orleans Hornets' owner George Shinn ready to sell team to local billionaire businessman Gary Chouest
There were any number of ironies that presented themselves on Wednesday night at New Orleans Arena as the New Orleans Hornets continued playing out the string of their losing season against the Charlotte Bobcats.
The owner’s court-side chair, recently re-occupied by majority owner George Shinn who returned a week and a half ago disease-free after January surgery on his cancerous prostate gland, was being used by someone else as Shinn had a previous engagement.
Yet it appears that Shinn, as with anyone who has experienced a brush with mortality, has undergone a life-altering metamorphosis: Shinn has discovered that ownership of an NBA basketball team is no longer a necessity in his life now that he has triumphed over a potentially fatal disease.
Though no signed agreement is yet in place, according to league sources, there apparently is now nothing to stand in the way of Shinn selling his entire remaining interest in the franchise he nurtured from its birth in Charlotte in 1988 and relocated to New Orleans in 2002, and again in 2007 after a two-year, storm-induced exile in Oklahoma City.
And the man whom Shinn brought on board as a 25-percent owner nearly three years ago, billionaire local businessman Gary Chouest, is poised to become the Hornets new owner, perhaps as early as the end of the week, likely ensuring the team’s long-term future in New Orleans and its economic viability as a big-time NBA player.
Chouest purchased his one-quarter interest in the team in July 2007, the summer the team returned to New Orleans, for $62 million and could likely pay Shinn close to an additional $200 for Shinn’s remaining 75 percent making the total purchase price likely greater than $260 million, sources said.
Cancer can be a life changing experience. After being so adamant about not ever selling the Hornets, I guess Shinn has put other things in life into perspective. A lot of Hornets fans, myself included, hoped he would eventually sell to local Chouest and it looks to be finally happening.
and hopefully, Chouest don't give a sh*t about the luxury taxe and won't sell players just to be under it
Yeah but if you're going to be over the lux tax at least have good players to show for it. No need to have to pay for the type of players the Hornets got rid of to get under it. If the team is doing well and you're competing or are some kind of contender then yeah, you might wanna go ahead and pay that tax but the players the Hornets gave up were hardly worthy. Gotta be smart about business no matter what kind of business you run. Even the smartest of businessmen don't want to throw money away.
Possible sale of New Orleans Hornets by George Shinn looms
Peter Vecsey of the New York Post first broached the subject publicly. For the past month or so, rumors have been floating about the future of George Shinn as principal owner of the New Orleans Hornets.
As a responsible journalist, it is imperative to sift through fact, fiction, partial truth and innuendo. In this situation, there were quite a bit of all of these factors involved in the prospective story.
Multiple sources state that Shinn is on the verge of selling the team to minority owner Gary Chouest, a south Louisiana native and resident who became part of the ownership structure in 2007 when he purchased 25 percent of the team from Shinn.
If true, the move would be a good one. According to several sources we have spoken to, Chouest has the finances necessary to support the costly burden of operating an NBA franchise. He is from these parts, virtually guaranteeing that the franchise would remain here on a long-term basis beyond the expiration of the current lease which has always been a concern.
The current lease between the Hornets and the state of Louisiana was extended through the end of the 2013-2014 season back in January of 2008. The team reached a prescribed attendance benchmark of 14,735 per game in April of 2008. The team recently completed a two-year period for measuring attendance in February.
The Hornets have averaged 15,054 fans per game for 40 dates this season, placing them 23rd in the NBA. In the 2008-2009 season, the Hornets averaged 16,968 fans per game, ranking New Orleans 19th in the league in average home attendance among the 30 NBA teams.
Curiously, both Shinn and Chouest were absent from Wednesday night’s 104-103 loss to Charlotte at New Orleans Arena. Perhaps they are laying low. Perhaps they were avoiding media. Perhaps it was coincidental.
George Shinn's sale of New Orleans Hornets will be good for him and for franchise
This is good for George Shinn.
This is good for the New Orleans Hornets.
"This" being the pending sale of the Hornets, from majority owner Shinn to minority owner Gary Chouest, from the only owner the Hornets ever have had and whose business has been the Hornets, to the billionaire minority owner whose wealth isn't linked to an NBA franchise and whose deep pockets should bode well for the Hornets' future in New Orleans.
Shinn, who reportedly is ready to get out of the business largely because of the recently-heightened awareness of his mortality, brought on by a successful fight with prostate cancer, has not been a bad owner in New Orleans, contrary to popular opinion.
Could he have been better? Of course, just as Jerry Buss probably would say he could've done things better with the Lakers.
But all of us who complain that Shinn hasn't opened his wallet wide enough first might want to ask ourselves how wide we'd be willing to open our own wallet if we were running a franchise out of it.
Then, we might consider the fact that New Orleans' star players have been paid on par with other NBA star players.
Maximum contracts have been awarded to players who have been deserving of that compensation, and Coach Byron Scott wasn't exactly working for free when he was with the Hornets. After resurrecting the Hornets and being named Coach of the Year, Scott was making a salary on par with his status and accomplishments.
Even this season, as the Hornets shaved payroll in order to remain under the luxury tax threshold, it didn't hurt the on-court product. Discarded players Devin Brown, Rasual Butler, Bobby Brown and Hilton Armstrong wouldn't have helped lead the Hornets to the playoffs if they'd been retained.
Now, if you want to argue that Shinn's money has gone into the accounts of the wrong players - Baron Davis, Jamal Mashburn, Peja Stojakovic, Morris Peterson, Mike James, Antonio Daniels - have at it. Like many franchises, the Hornets haven't always spent wisely on players.
League sources say that the proposed sale of the Hornets from longtime owner George Shinn to minority owner Gary Chouest should now be regarded as an "inevitability," with an announcement possible as early as next week. And with Chouest in a much stronger financial position than Shinn, there is a buzz building around the franchise already that the necessary money will be spent to rebuild the team around Paul … and hire a top-tier coach such as New Orleans native Avery Johnson.
This is bad news for rival teams that have been clinging to the hope that the emergence of Hornets rookie point guard Darren Collison would make it possible to steal Paul in an offseason trade. One source close to the situation told ESPN.com this week that to the contrary, Chouest is adamant about keeping Paul, who has tried in vain all season to convince media skeptics that he wants to stay in New Orleans.
New Orleans Hornets, George Shinn ready to move on
There really is nothing else we want to hear said by a New Orleans Hornets player or coach, given that a season that officially ends Wednesday night unofficially ended several weeks ago, when it became apparent that the playoffs were out of the question.
Frankly, all comments and explanations from players and coaches became moot once it became obvious there would be no postseason basketball this year.
All we’re doing now is awaiting the official sale of the Hornets from majority owner George Shinn to minority owner Gary Chouest, a deal Shinn made sound as good as done Sunday night, when he gave his first interview since news leaked that he was set to sell to Chouest.
Sounding much like a man who was about to lose one of the loves of his life - which Shinn, who has owned the Hornets since the franchise came into existence in 1988, is about to do - Shinn likened it to a death in the family while saying he wanted to move on with his life.
Truth is, we’re all probably as ready as Shinn for all the I’s to be dotted and the T’s to be crossed. The Hornets vigorously need to dive into this offseason and make the necessary changes to not just get back in the playoffs, but to become contenders again. And the sooner the sale is made, the better for all involved.
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."