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Owners formally approve sale of Hornets to Tom Benson

David Stern, Tom Benson

NBA Commissioner David Stern, right, and New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson pose for a photo at a news conference announcing New Orleans has been awarded the 2014 All-Star game, in New Orleans, Monday, April 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)


Tom Benson, you are in the club.

Not that there was much doubt the owner of the New Orleans Saints would get the okay to also become the owner of the New Orleans Hornets. In large part because he will keep the team in the Big Easy. In large part because the league really, really wanted to get out of the business of owning the team itself.

Wednesday the NBA Board of Governors — made of up the 29 NBA owners — approved the sale. Tom Benson is in. The formal sale is expected to close later this week.

Benson’s new franchise will be one to watch with soon-to-be No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis and shooting guard Eric Gordon (who says he will test the free agent market but the Hornets will match virtually any offer). The Hornets have the foundation to evolve into a pretty good team in a few years.

How Benson runs the team will be interesting, he’s already looking for ways to merge some Saints and Hornets operations.