NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ New Orleans Hornets owner George Shinn, who recently signed a 5-year lease, is interested in a 10-year deal with state subsidies rather than the exit clauses in the current contract.
"This has been a partnership all along and naturally we and the state have the same goal in mind, to be here longterm," he said Saturday.
A recent University of New Orleans study estimating the team's economic impact at $167 million a year "is a testament to our commitment," he said in a statement e-mailed by team spokesman Harold Kaufman.
"With the great success of the All-Star weekend, which showcased New Orleans nationally and internationally, and the success of the team of the court, this brings value and notoriety to the community that you can't even put a price on, so we look forward to our continuing communication with all parties."
Shinn said he also has asked NBA Commissioner David Stern to have the All-Star Game return to New Orleans.
But, he said, the team needs a financial safety net for increasing expenses, including salaries.
Superdome Commission Chairman Ron Forman would say only that he has talked with team officials in the past week about a long-term lease.
"A long-term arrangement with the Hornets is in everybody's best interest," Forman said in a statement to The Times-Picayune.