NBA wants long-term issues in New Orleans settled soon

Monday, November 6th 2006, 3:15 am
By: News On 6

NEW ORLEANS (AP) NBA Commissioner David Stern says in the short term, the New Orleans Hornets are sure to return to Louisiana full-time.

In the long-term, though, Stern says concerns about the city's recovery and corporate support for pro basketball need to be resolved.

Last night's game was the first of six the Hornets will play in New Orleans this season. The rest will be played in Oklahoma City as part of a two-year agreement following Hurricane Katrina.

Even though the home opener was announced as a sellout, Stern said he had little interest in scrutinizing attendance figures for this year's games. He's more interested in the long-term business climate.

Stern says projections he heard from local business leaders and academics in the spring have so far proven to be optimistic.

Hornets owner George Shinn continues to negotiate with a group of New Orleans business leaders who are interested in purchasing around 35 percent of the franchise.

Stern says completion of such a deal could strengthen the city's prospects in the league.