NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Louisiana and the New Orleans Hornets have agreed to extend the team's lease through 2014, giving it an option to leave early if attendance is poor.
The original lease bound the team to the state through 2012.
Under the new deal, announced Wednesday, the Hornets could choose to renegotiate or move if attendance falls below 14,735 at the end of the 2008-09 season. After 15 games this season, the average attendance was 11,871.
The team plays at New Orleans Arena.
Despite the low attendance, team owner George Shinn said the Hornets have no interest in leaving New Orleans.
The extra two years in the lease cover the time the Hornets spent in Oklahoma City following Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and made it impossible for the team to play in the city.
"The NBA has reached out to assist New Orleans in its recovery," league Commissioner David Stern said. "We are committed to making the franchise more successful than ever, and we hope that the Hornets will remain in the city for many years to come."
Gov. Kathleen Blanco said: "Both the state and the Hornets' ownership have great confidence in the team's fan base."