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Report: Hornets sign new long-term arena lease with Louisiana

By Royce Young | NBA writer
The Hornets still don't have an owner, but they do have a new arena lease.

Via WWLTV.com:
The Hornets and Gov. Bobby Jindal will announce this afternoon an agreement on a new long-term lease through 2024, said a source close to the negotiations who requested anonymity because the agreement hadn't been officially publicized.

As part of the lease, lawmakers will be asked to approve a $50 million capital bond to help fund future improvements to the New Orleans Arena, a move that would help the Hornets earn more money while ending state subsidies.

The source said the deal wouldn't add any new taxes to fund anything contained within the agreement.

Also reportedly included in the agreement is that the Hornets will host another All-Star Game before the lease is up. Improvements to the arena are also expected.

There has been some fear that an outside owner would try and uproot the Hornets, which is one reason the NBA and David Stern have primarily tried to target local or committed owners to New Orleans. Recent reports had Stern saying the team could be sold "in a month," but it's been a month and the team still hasn't sold.

But having this new lease could expidite the process. Moving the team before that expires is near impossible, so it opens up the possibility to expands in negotiations. Stern may not have to though as recent reports also indicated the bidding was down to one or two ownership groups.

Taxpayers will have to cover $50 million of the improvements, quite an asking price for a city that hasn't exactly been that committed to the team. The Hornets are 26th in average home attendance at a little better than 14,000 a game. Plus the team on the floor is bad and there's some hangover from dealing franchise player Chris Paul.

Still, it's a big day for fans of the Hornets in Louisiana because the team won't be moving any time soon.

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