SBD/Issue 211/Franchises

Shinn, Chouest Reportedly $24-30M Apart In Hornets Sale Talks

Hornets Refute Report That Shinn (l), Chouest (r)
Are Barely On Speaking Terms

The transfer of Hornets ownership from George Shinn to Minority Owner Gary Chouest "remains stalled" because the two sides are "$24 to $30 million apart in negotiations," according to sources cited by John Reid of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. Sources said that Chouest's "unwillingness to agree to Shinn's estimated value of the team is why he is seeking outside investors."  Chouest also is "leery about the potential for a lockout after next season." Hornets officials said that there is "no timetable when the deal might be finalized." Shinn's asking price for the franchise "remains unknown." Sources said that since "negotiations stalled several weeks ago, Shinn and Chouest barely are on speaking terms," though Hornets President Hugh Weber "denied the assertions Friday." Weber: "It's just a situation where timing and the work each of them are doing in their own businesses that it's just not a critical issue for them to hurry up and get things down. There is just nothing normal about a team transaction. Every one of them is different." Reid noted Chouest purchased a 25% stake in the team in '07. Sources close to Chouest claim that his stake "has increased to a 35-percent share, but the Hornets have not confirmed it" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 7/17).

SPUR OF THE MOMENT:'s Marc Stein cited sources as indicating that Spurs VP/Basketball Operations Dell Demps has "emerged as the frontrunner" in the Hornets' "fast-moving search" for a new GM. The Hornets have "interviewed a number of candidates during the NBA's annual summer league in Las Vegas and expect to complete that process by the end of the weekend." Weber said that he "hopes to have the new GM in place within a week." Stein noted Demps is the "only candidate to date to have been summoned for multiple meetings with Hornets officials" (, 7/17).

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