Tom Benson Rumors
Saints GM Mickey Loomis has taken on a greater personnel role above GM Dell Demps, but rival execs understand that move is only temporary. “Mickey is a football guy, not a basketball guy,” one exec said. And at the D-League Showcase, the buzz was getting louder that it’s only a matter of time before former Pistons executive Joe Dumars — who has a close relationship with Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson — returns to his native Louisiana to assume control. That’s usually how it works. When someone is assuming control in the NBA, he usually has a mess on his hands.
Tom Benson: I will repeat today as I did yesterday to the reporter. I am not selling either team. That is not in my makeup. I am not retiring or stepping aside, while I do appreciate all of the sincere concern for my health. The legacy of both these teams are still yet to be written and my legacy can be discussed when I am long gone, which by the way is not that important to me right now. What is important to me is getting both our teams back to winning and challenging for championships. That is what our fans want most, and no one is more keenly aware of the urgency of that objective than me. We have had tremendous success both on and off the field and remain model franchises in both leagues, something I am very proud of. Another important part of our legacy is continuing to rebuild our city, our hospitals and our schools to make them leading institutions in this country. My wife Gayle and I do not take this for granted and cherish our ability to participate and contribute annually.
Furthermore, my plan to transfer complete control to Gayle is unassailable and designed to provide the long term stability and resources that all franchises need to produce consistently winning teams. It is our determined objective that our fans, our City, our State, and our entire region will continue to join in and benefit from our success. Selling these teams is not part of a solution, rather it is detrimental to those goals. Gayle and I hope everyone enjoyed our win today over the Jacksonville Jaguars and last night when our Pelicans beat the Houston Rockets. We wish everyone a Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year.
Pelicans owner Tom Benson is the only one donating to two different candidates – Bush and Bobby Jindal, governor of Lousiana since 2008. Not a single active NBA player has donated to a presidential candidate yet. Caron Butler gave money to the Democratic National Committee last June, though.
Rita LeBlanc once expected to spend many years running the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans, which would have made her one of the most powerful women in pro sports. This week, the disowned granddaughter has spent many hours on a witness stand, trying to persuade a judge that her 87-year-old grandfather, Tom Benson, was not of sound mind when he ousted her, her mother and her brother from ownership positions with his NFL and NBA clubs, and changed his succession plan to place his third wife in line to control his business empire.
But league sources pointed out Tuesday that the people whose names were on the press release may not be the ones making the decision. Former Pistons executive Joe Dumars, a Louisiana native, has been providing input with the team and has a close relationship with Loomis and owner Tom Benson.