Stern: Discussions Ongoing for Hornets
On Friday, reports surfaced that California businessman Raj Bhathal is leading a group into exclusive negotiations to purchase the league-owned Hornets with a deal expected to be struck in the near future. Bhathal would reportedly agree to keep the Hornets in New Orleans.
On Saturday, (David) Stern declined to confirm that Bhathal was the individual involved in the exclusive negotiations, but he did confirm that one of two groups interested in purchasing the Hornets is being given priority in the negotiations. He also said that he was “optimistic” that a deal will be reached between the two sides.
“We are in discussions with one group,” Stern said. “We have another group in sort of second place, waiting to see how we do with group one. We’re optimistic that we will make a deal with group one.”
Stern said a deal with the new owners cannot be made until the NBA reaches a deal with Louisiana on naming rights for the Hornets’ arena, which is expected in the near future.
“We’re a little bit behind here because we haven’t concluded our deal with the State yet, but I think it’s moving closer day by day,” he said. “It’s progressing well, but it’s not finished. We expect to have it finished, I’m told, in the next week or ten days, and that’s the period of time that we would like to hopefully have this deal for the sale of the club come into much sharper focus.