Dennis Lauscha

Gayle Benson Vows To Remain Pelicans’ Owner

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.”

Camp Rumors: Howard, Hornets, Murray, Miller

It's looking more like the Lakers will have Dwight Howard in the lineup to start the regular season, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports hears the big man is determined to be ready for opening night, and that the progress he's made in recent weeks has upped his chances. Howard says his surgically repaired back is at 85%, Wojnarowski reports. The Lakers still don't have a timetable for his return, but it's just one more reason for optimism in L.A. The mood is upbeat all around the league this time of year, as teams start fresh in training camp. Here's a roundup of news from camps across the Association.

  • John Reid of The Times-Picayune hears that Hornets GM Dell Demps will work in tandem with executives Mickey Loomis and Dennis Lauscha on the team's basketball-related decisions. It's unclear exactly what role everyone will play, but I imagine Demps will continue to function in the day-to-day role of most GMs.
  • Ronald "Flip" Murray, who has an agreement to join the Grizzlies, was not on the camp roster released by the team today, but Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal says the journeyman guard will indeed be in camp (Twitter link).
  • This could be the last training camp for Heat swingman Mike Miller, who hinted at retirement after last season and wants to see how his back responds before promising anything beyond this year, Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida writes (Sulia link). Miller's deal has more than $13MM left on it and runs through 2015, with a player option in the final season. 
  • Many of the Celtics veterans have been working out together since early September, while the rookies have been in Boston for most of the past three months. That's led to better chemistry as camp starts, Chris Forsberg of writes.