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New Orleans Hornets Sale: David Stern Says NBA 'Very Close' To Closing Deal With New Buyer

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The Hornets may soon be sold to a new buyer that would keep the team in New Orleans for the foreseeable future, NBA commissioner David Stern said in an interview with NBA.com's David Aldridge. Stern said the league is "very close" with one potential buyer and expects the deal and the new lease in New Orleans to be completed around March 1.

"We're moving on dual tracks on a buyer, and with the state's contribution under a new lease that will likely be complete, both of those, by March 1 or on or about March 1. The deal itself can't close until the legislature confirms the role of the state, and the legislature convenes in March," Stern said.

Stern said that the state of Louisiana will contribute to the lease, and there will not be an out clause in it. He did not mention the name of the potential buyer, only saying that one was "in the lead" and a second possibility was "awaiting future events."

Stern also said that he had no regrets about the NBA purchasing the team from former owner George Shinn.

"I think we had a city that had stood by us and we by it, a state that supported us, and we it. We had an owner at the beginning of the season who really was tired and without resources to continue. We stepped in rather than make it into a free-for-all. We wanted to do it in an orderly fashion, and I think we did,"

For more on the Hornets, visit At The Hive.