NBA Roundup: Heat and Lakers; Hornets Bought; and the Sacramento Mess

Hornets Get New Owner

The NBA finally found someone to take the New Orleans Hornets franchise off its hands after the league took over the team in December 2010, selling the team to New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson.

Fans can surely expect the new owner to bring the buzz back to a franchise that has been in limbo ever since the NBA bought the team from former owner George Shinn. The Hornets have had a murky existence in the city of New Orleans after moving there from Charlotte in 2002. The team had to spend the entire 2005 and 2006 seasons in Oklahoma City after Hurricane Katrina tore apart New Orleans.

“We expect this club to be one of the most outstanding clubs in the league, otherwise I don't want to get involved. This is just a good thing and I'm just glad to be a part of it,” Benson told reporters.

The New Orleans native, whose Saints won the Super Bowl in 2010, also hopes to change the team's name and even spoke about perhaps trying to somehow get the name of the Jazz, which was the name of the franchise that took off for Utah.

Benson said he would talk to commissioner David Stern about the possibility.

“We need to find a name like (Jazz). Whether we can get that or let us se that, you've got to know we're working on it. We'd like to change it tomorrow. We have not gotten that approved but we're not letting up on it either.

A Mess In Sacramento

It was just six weeks ago that Sacramento Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof was in tears when the city of Sacramento and the team announced a deal for the financing of a new arena.

It's all probably moot now after the plan fell apart with the Maloof family balking at the terms of the deal.

On Saturday according to the USA Today, the Maloof family said they didn't trust the former NBA player and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.

"I don't think I'd want to negotiate with the mayor. Maybe there's someone else that I'd feel more comfortable with. We're disappointed in comments made by the mayor that we feel were shots to us that were unfair and not truthful,” George Maloof said to USA Today.

Although the family almost moved the team to Anaheim before Johnson stepped in at the end of last season and got the team to stay, it could open the door for the Maloof family to move the team but they keep insisting they won't leave.

At the NBA Board of Govenors meeting Friday in New York, Johnson ditched the Maloof's family proposal that the Power Balance Arena could be  remodeled. Before traveling to the meetings, Johnson told the team's owners that the city had no plans of reworking new terms.

Price to build a new arena? $391 million.

Lakers Get Another 'W' Without Kobe

Who needs the NBA's leading scorer when you pull off four straight wins. The Lakers went out and beat the defending champions Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, sweeping the four games as Kobe Bryant sat on the bench with a sore shin. The Mavs swept the Lakers in the playoffs last year enroute to their championship.

Pau Gasol said he doesn't think going 4-0 against the Mavericks will hold much weight if both teams face each other in the playoffs.

''This team eliminated us last year, and they're the champs right now. It's a good quality win for us. If we face them again, I don't know if this 4-0 in the regular season will be worth a whole lot,” Gasol said.  “But we'll have to start over and make sure we play as hard as we've been playing lately.''  
The Lakers hold the third spot in the Western Conference with the Mavs  looking up from the sixth spot. Both teams could face off in the first round if the standings hold up once the season ends April 26.

Could Knicks Handle Heat?

Carmelo Anthony has been on a scoring tear this month, averaging 31.7 points in seven games. He had another big game Sunday against the Miami Heat, scoring 42 points but it just wasn't enough as the New York Knicks offense disappeared in the second half with the Heat going on a 18-6 run in the last eight minutes of the game.

Anthony had no clue as to what happened to the Knicks down the stretch at The Garden with a festive crowd.

“It was all a blur. ... I don't even know what happened. It just happened so fast,” Anthony said.  They made some tough shots down the stretch the last couple of minutes of the game. The last six minutes of the game we couldn't make shots. We had some good looks. Couldn't make them. Didn't make them.”

It was a possible preview of a first-round matchup although the loss dropped the Knicks to the eighth spot. The Knicks fared well against Chicago last Sunday and last night held a 79-74 lead against the Heat before it all bottomed out.

“It will be a battle,” said Anthony in regards to the prospects of facing the Heat in the playoffs. “We feel confident going up against anybody right now regardless of who it is. Our confidence is sky high.”

Melo Hosts Trayvon Martin's Family Before Game

Carmelo Anthony termed meeting Trayvon Martin's family as “a blessing, an honor” before Friday night's game against Washington.

The Knicks star invited the late Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton and his older brother Jahvaris Fulton along with Martin's youngest brother, who is 3 1/2 years old, to the game where they met the players although the media was not present at the time.

The family was in town for an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday night. Martin, a 17-year-old, was killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman,

"We all know the tragedy that happened, and just to get in a different space of mind right now, just bringing them to not even the game, but to the locker room in the back, meeting all the players, meeting the coaches, that was the easy part. We had no media there. It was just something that I wanted to do.

Adry Torres, who has covered MLB, NFL, NBA and NCAA basketball games and related events, is a regular contributor to Fox News Latino. He can be reached at or follow him on Twitter: @adrytorresnyc.

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