New Orleans Hornets to Be the First Franchise Owned and Operated by the NBA?

Chris FaigCorrespondent IDecember 5, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - NOVEMBER 17:  Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets drives the ball up the court during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the New Orleans Arena on November 17, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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Longtime Hornets owner George Shinn was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year, and says that he now wants to move on from NBA ownership to focus on his faith, along with spreading the awareness of cancer to help fight the disease.

ESPN.com reported that the NBA has been contemplating purchasing the franchise from Shinn in order to have complete control over the permanent owner of the New Orleans Hornets.  

The Hornets have been struggling with attendance, and the league does not want to see the organization change cities once again.  Even minority owner Gary Chouest has been weighing the possibilities of selling his stake in the franchise to concentrate more on his family business.  

So the National Basketball Association may attempt to purchase the ball club in order to keep the Hornets in New Orleans.  The Hornets have been playing in New Orleans since 2002, when Shinn decided to move the franchise from Charlotte.  Both New Orleans and the league have declined to answers any questions about the NBA's possible future purchase of the organization.  

The NBA hasn't discussed the purchase publicly, so the individual who revealed this information to the Associated Press remains anonymous.  

If they do indeed purchase the New Orleans Hornets, it will be the first time in the league's history that a franchise is owned and operated by the NBA.