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Monday, 06 December 2010 15:28

Ex-N.O. Native Sperling To Oversee Hornets Sale

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Jac Sperling, a New Orleans-born lawyer who is vice president of the NHL's Minnesota Wild reportedly will oversee the transition and eventual sale of the Hornets.

He has negotiated the sale of professional sports teams and has directed the Wild into one of hockey's most successful franchises.

Since billionaire minority Hornets owner George Chouest has changed his mind about buying out majority owner George Shinn, the NBA is taking control over the permanent sale of the franchise. 

The NBA's potential involvement is similar to Major League Baseball's purchase of the Montreal Expos before the team was ultimately sold and moved to the nation's capital as the Washington Nationals in 2005. It is believed however, that the NBA's intent --  if it went through with buying the Hornet's -- would be to try to secure a buyer willing and able to keep the franchise in New Orleans. Shinn controversially moved the Hornets from Charlotte to New Orleans for the 2002--03 season, and the team was forced to make Oklahoma City its home for two seasons in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The Hornets can opt out of their current contract with the state of Louisiana and have the freedom to move yet again if they average less than 14,213 fans during a 13-game stretch of home dates between Dec. 1 and Jan. 17. The Hornets averaged just 13,826 fans through their first nine home games despite the team's 13-5 start.

SOME HITHER, OTHERS YON: The Hornets played in New York the other night and lost to the Knicks,, and that was time for some vintage New York speculation. Does Chris Paul really want to be a Knick? He did go to Carmelo Anthony's wedding in New York and make a  toast that he would love to play with other great players. He told the New York Post this: "I'm a huge fan of Knicks coach (Mike) D'Antoni's, and he really has those guys going right now. And any time you have a personality like Amar'e (Stoudemire) on your team and Raymond running your show, you're going to be tough." ...

 Could he be any more clear he is dying to go to New York? To join Camelo Anthony and Amare in another big- three super team. New York is perfect for him, it has everything. However, Paul said that toast this summer is behind him. "That's why I'm happy the summer is over," said Paul. "I haven't talked to Carmelo. I have no clue, all I can do is worry about Chris Paul's future and right now my future is to shower and go pick up my son from school. That's about it." Paul is giving the Hornets' new management and soon-to-be-incoming owner a chance, and so far they have delivered fairly well. The super-fast start was a bit of a mirage, but the Hornets are playing better and the future may be spending to improve this roster. There is hope and Paul is not talking about moving on...The Knicks finally have a point guard playing at an All-Star level, Raymond Felton, who has a big fan in Hornets coach Monty Williams. Felton's contract is eligible to be traded on Dec, 15 when 2010 free agent signees no longer have restrictions. “He's a good guy," D'Antoni said of Paul. "We won a gold medal together. So obviously you get close to people. He's a great guy. We talked a lot  and joked around together. Normal stuff. He's just a good guy."...

Other Louisiana Sports:

THE CLEVELAND Browns have been playing without linebacker Scott Fujita since Nov. 14 because of a knee injury...LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton has said he expected to be back next season, but Les Miles makes that decision and he isn't saying. Miles said his week he didn't want to talk about Crowton's status. "Endorsement, no endorsement...all those things are really without relevance at this point  to me," said Miles. "This is about preparing a team for a bowl game, period. Our offense has gotten better, and our team is maturing." Reading between the lines, it sounds like  Miles hasn't decided what he's going to do with Crowton, who is entering the final year of his contract. The Tigers are 11th in the SEC in total offense this season after finishing last  a year ago....More than a year after snagging the College Football Hall of Fame from South Bend, Ind., the attraction's organizers announced that its new home will be in downtown Atlanta....


 LSU has sold out of its allotment of tickets to the 2011 AT&T Cotton Bowl, assistant athletic director for ticket operations Brian Broussard announced on Sunday night.


Broussard said the school was given an allotment of 12,500 tickets for the game and those requests were all scooped up by season ticket holders and students. Broussard said LSU had well over 15,000 ticket requests for the Cotton Bowl.


“We sold every ticket we had to this game and they went quick,” Broussard said. “There is obviously a lot of excitement about going to play in the Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M.”


Broussard said season ticket holders who requested tickets to the Cotton Bowl will receive an email on Monday notifying them of their order and how many tickets they have been granted for the game. Tickets are distributed based on the LSU Priority Point System.


LSU will be playing in the Cotton Bowl for the first time since the 2002 season when the Tigers dropped a 35-20 decision to Texas. It will be the first meeting between LSU and Texas A&M since 1995.

by Ed Staton

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.