SBD/Issue 161/Franchises

NBA Franchise Notes: Cancer Scare Prompting Shinn's Hornets Sale

In New Orleans, Jimmy Smith cites sources as saying that outgoing Hornets Owner George Shinn, who was "diagnosed with prostate cancer in November and has been cancer-free since January surgery, underwent a life-changing metamorphosis as a result of his illness." The sources indicated that Shinn now will focus his time on "increasing awareness of prostate cancer, early detection, and other charitable endeavors that are close to his heart, as well as his abundant faith." Sources said that the official announcement of his sale of the Hornets to Gary Chouest will come this week, "no earlier than Thursday" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 5/4). New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist John DeShazier said the sale of the Hornets to Chouset is "nothing but good news" for Hornets fans. DeShazier: "You've got an owner who's obviously interested in keeping the franchise in New Orleans. … He's a local guy." It is believed Chouest will be a "little bit more of a player in terms of economics when it comes to (acquiring) players and coaches. We don't think he's going to spare salaries" (, 5/3).

Riley Will Remain With Heat Beyond This
Summer, Hasn't Ruled Out Return To Coaching

STANDING THE HEAT: Heat President Pat Riley yesterday said that he has "agreed to remain with the franchise beyond the expiration of his contract this summer and would not rule out a return to coaching." Riley said that his new agreement "runs longer than a year but declined to be more specific" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/4). In West Palm Beach, Dave George writes Riley leaving opening the possibility of coaching could be part of a "specific sales job, adding the possibility of Riley's daily, hands-on involvement to the ... list of valid reasons for any free agent to join the Heat" (PALM BEACH POST, 5/4). In Miami, Greg Cote: "Call it the first volley in the free agent wars." Riley is "taking a preemptive strike at any doubts that might be out there about whether ... Erik Spoelstra is the right man to lead this club to another championship" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/4).

MAY I JOIN YOU? NBA Commissioner David Stern yesterday said he is hoping Ted Leonsis' acquisition of the Wizards will be "done by the end of the month." Stern said Leonsis has a "terrific sales, marketing and community organization with the Capitals and he will be able to use that in a relatively simple and quick way to move it over and do the Wizards in a proper way." He added, "I think that's a spectacular transition for us. ... Full speed ahead" (, 5/3). Meanwhile, Stern yesterday said that the sale of 15% of the Cavaliers to Chinese investors "hasn't been approved," and there are "no plans for a league vote on it" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 5/4).

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