NEW YORK — Tom Benson brought stability http://www.24-7airmax2011.com[/url]to the NFL Saints nearly three decades ago and plans to do the same for the Hornets in small-market New Orleans.
The Saints' owner agreed Friday to purchase the Hornets from the NBA.
A person familiar with the deal said the purchase price is $338 million. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the financial terms have not been announced.
"We expect this club to be one of the most outstanding clubs in the league, otherwise I don't want to get involved," Benson said. "This is just a good thing, and I'm just glad to be a part of it."
The NBA has been trying to sell the Hornets, who played in Charlotte, N.C., from 1988 to 2002, since buying the team from founder George Shinn in December 2010 for a reported $318 million.
While preparing the team for sale, the league negotiated a new lease for the Hornets to remain in the state-owned New Orleans Arena through 2024.
The sale of the team to Benson, 84, has to be approved by the league Board of Governors.
"The city is one of the country's treasures and we really have found the perfect owner," commissioner David Stern said. "Our goal all along has been to get the Hornets bought by somebody whose commitment to New Orleans would be unrivaled."
Benson has owned the Saints since 1985.
The framework of ownership negotiations were handled in a way a new Hornets owner would have to accept the lease worked out between the league and Gov. Bobby Jindal. The lease agreement also called for $50 million in improvements to the arena.
"The Hornets are so important to New Orleans," said Benson, who was once a minority owner of the San Antonio Spurs. "If you would have been on the phone with the governor, I thought he was coming through to kiss me."
Hornets coach Monty Williams said he has not spoken with Benson but would understand if it takes a few days for them to meet.
"I bought a Subway sandwich today, and he spent $300 million," Williams said. "I'm pretty sure he's got more to do than I do."
Host New Orleans beat Utah 96-85.
Retired player Williams
leaves New York jail
NEW YORK — Retired player Jayson Williams was freed from jail after serving eight months for driving under the influence in New York and 18 months before that in New Jersey on charges stemming from a limousine driver's shooting death.
"I am eager to see my daughters, my mother and siblings and make amends for what they've been through," the former New Jersey Nets forward-center said.
Williams drove his SUV into a tree in lower Manhattan in 2010, a week after he accepted a plea deal stemming from the 2002 shotgun death of a chauffeur in his New Jersey mansion.
The ex-player's manager and attorneys have said Williams, 44, has attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, gone through counseling and taught Bible study.
• High-profile players who sat out because of injuries included Miami guardDwyane Wade(sprained ankle), Orlando center Dwight Howard (herniated disk in back) and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (shin).
Miami beat visiting Charlotte 105-82, improving to 11-1 in games Wade has missed this season.Marvin Williams of Bremerton scored 16 points to help Atlanta win 109-81 in Orlando. Andrew Bynum scored 30 points as the host Lakers beat Denver 103-97.
• Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 points as defending champion Dallas beat the Trail Blazers 97-94 in Portland. Nicolas Batum led the Blazers with 20 points.
• Danny Granger scored 18 points as the host Indiana Pacers beat Cleveland 102-83 and clinched an Eastern Conference playoff berth. The Pacers are third in the East.
• Ex-Sonic Kevin Durant contributed 29 points and nine rebounds as Oklahoma City beat visiting Sacramento 115-89.
Rookie Isaiah Thomas, ]http://www.24-7airmax2011.com[/url] a former Washington Huskies standout, scored 21 points for the Kings, who have lost seven in a row.
• Visiting Phoenix helped its playoff chances with a 112-105 victory over Houston.
Marcin Gortat had 20 points and 15 rebounds for the Suns, who are ninth in the West standings. The top eight teams in each conference make the playoffs.