Well, Sean Payton may have a job in 2012, after all.
Saints owner Tom Benson is closing in on buying the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets, according to Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The league’s Board of Governors currently is meeting in New York, considering offers submitted by Benson and by a group led by California swimwear manufacturer Raj Bhatal.
Benson has owned the Saints since 1985 The Hornets joined the NBA three years later, along with the Miami Heat.
Originally in Charlotte, where the team once boasted high-level talent like Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson, the Hornets moved to New Orleans in 2002, filling the void created when the Jazz moved to Utah. (Amazingly, the Jazz never changed their name to something that better fit their new surroundings.)
The league’s cross-ownership rules once prohibited owners from owning teams in other major sports leagues. When Wayne Huizenga bought the Dolphins, at a time when he owned baseball’s Marlins and the NHL’s Florida Panthers, the NFL adjusted the rule to allow NFL owners to own other teams that play in the same market.
And while the first line of this item largely was typed in jest, perhaps Benson could find something for Payton to do in connection with the Hornets, in order to keep Payton occupied during the 2012 football season. The most difficult part of Payton’s suspension, which starts in three days, will come from going from full-speed, pedal-to-the-metal hard work to shutting down the engine and sitting in the garage.