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Gayle Benson: I’ll never sell Pelicans

NFC Championship - Los Angeles Rams v New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 20: Owner Gayle Benson of the New Orleans Saints is seen before the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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Most NBA owners, at least at one point, wanted to own an NBA team. We know that because they bought one.

But Gayle Benson inherited the Pelicans from her late husband Tom Benson last year. She didn’t choose to buy the franchise, which left uncertainty regarding her desire to own a team.

Gayle Benson, via Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune:

“There is no way that I am going to sell that team -- ever,” Benson said
“I value the Pelicans as much as I do the Saints, and I don’t look at myself as an owner of the teams,” Benson said. “I feel like it is an asset that I am protecting for the city.”

Benson has already begun to put her stamp on the Pelicans. She fired general manager Dell Demps and said his replacement will report directly to her. That’s a change from the setup that had Mickey Loomis overseeing both the Pelicans and Saints.

Once she hires a new general manger, Benson will oversee New Orleans trading Anthony Davis this summer. That’s the type of major move that requires significant ownership input. Benson will determine whether the Pelicans rebuild or attempt to remain competitive post-Davis.

And then New Orleans will go from there – apparently with Benson in charge for the long haul.