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Though she took over ownership of the New Orleans Pelicans after the death of her husband, Tom Benson, Gayle Benson has vowed to hold on to the franchise going forward.
Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Advocate reports Benson, who also owns the New Orleans Saints, made her intentions clear at an NFL owners meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“There is no way I’m going to sell that team (the Pelicans) ever,” Benson said.
There had been speculation Benson’s commitment to the franchise may have been shaken since Anthony Davis’ well-publicized trade demand made a week before the Feb. 7 trade deadline.
Forbes’ most recent rankings had the Pelicans being valued at $1.2 billion, 29th out of 30 NBA teams, ahead of only the Memphis Grizzlies.
The team’s lease at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans runs through the 2024 season. Benson said there are no plans to relocate the team.
“People are going to talk and there’s really nothing you can do about that,” Benson said, according to Duncan. “Time will take care of it. They’ll see that I’m sincere and I’m not going anywhere.”