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Saints owner buys New Orleans Hornets

April 13, 2012 at 8:04 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, April 13 (UPI) -- NBA Commissioner David Stern announced Friday that Tom Benson, owner of the NFL's New Orleans Saints, had bought that city's basketball team.

The New Orleans Hornets had been owned by the league since December, 2010, and Benson purchased the club for a reported $338 million.

"I know that Tom is a firm believer in investing in New Orleans," Stern said. "He has made huge commitments. Our goal all along has been to get the Hornets bought by someone who's commitment to New Orleans would be unrivaled and who adds so much additional value as the owner of the Saints does."

NFL rules allow Benson to make such a purchase because the Hornets and Saints are in the same market. Benson, 84, became owner of the Saints in 1985. The NFL team, however, faces an uncertain 2012 due to multiple suspensions to coaching and front office personnel brought on by a bounty program uncovered by an NFL investigation.

The Hornets have been in New Orleans since 2002, when the franchise moved from Charlotte. The team played home games in Oklahoma City for two full seasons in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

"I want this club to be one of the most outstanding clubs in the league," Benson said. "I wouldn't want to get involved with it otherwise. Right off the bat, our goal is to win championships. Our goal is going to be that this thing is going to be great for New Orleans."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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