Gayle Benson, the widow of long-time Pelicans owner Tom Benson, vowed on Monday that she’ll retain ownership in the franchise, according to a New Orleans Advocate report.
Gayle Benson’s commitment to the franchise had been in doubt, particularly after superstar Anthony Davis made his trade demand this winter. Benson, who also controls ownership of the Saints, made her intentions clear at an NFL owners meeting.
“There is no way I’m going to sell that team (the Pelicans) ever,” Benson said.
The Pelicans are valued at $1.2 billion, according to Forbes’ most recent rankings, which is second-to-last in the league ahead of only the Grizzlies, the report notes. Their lease at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans runs through 2024.
We have more on Benson’s plans for the franchise:
- Saints GM Mickey Loomis will focus exclusively on the football team going forward, Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune tweets. He previously had oversight duties for both teams. Danny Ferry has been running the front office as the interim GM since Benson fired Dell Demps shortly after the February trade deadline. The new GM will oversee basketball operations and report directly to Benson, Duncan adds.
- The outside consultant being used to conduct the GM search has recommended five or six candidates for the position, Duncan reports in another tweet. Benson and team president Dennis Lauscha will make the hire with Loomis also providing his input, Duncan adds.
- Benson said there are no plans to relocate the Pelicans. Their lease at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans runs through 2024. “People are going to talk and there’s really nothing you can do about that,” Benson said, per Duncan. “Time will take care of it. They’ll see that I’m sincere and I’m not going anywhere.”