Raj Bhathal, a Los Angeles-based businessman, is leading a group in talks to purchase the New Orleans Hornets from the NBA, reports Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. NBA commissioner David Stern said this week that the league was close to offloading the franchise to a buyer. The NBA bought the team from struggling owner George Shinn in December 2010 for $300 million. At the time, Stern assured the media that the league could turn a profit on the sale of the club, but no details about Bhathal's potential purchase price are available.
Smith reports that Larry J. Benson, the brother of the New Orleans Saints-owning Tom Benson and former NBA head coach Mike Dunleavy are involved in the ownership group, as well.
Bhathal's RAJ Manufacturing claims to be one of the nation's leading manufacturers of swimsuits and activewear. Bhathal also once owned a World League franchise, much like the Maloofs, who own the Sacramento Kings.
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