Report: Benson spoke with NBA's Stern about buying Hornets

New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson has spoken with NBA commissioner David Stern about purchasing the Hornets, the Times-Picayune reported Monday, citing a source close to Benson.

The Hornets are currently owned by the NBA, which is in the process of finding a private ownership group committed to keeping the franchise in New Orleans.

Wyche: Punishing the Saints
In upholding the punishment of the Saints, the NFL has sent a clear message. Steve Wyche explains what it is. More ...

The Times-Picayune reported that Benson put in a bid to purchase the Hornets when the solicitation process began earlier this year, but he didn't like the league's asking price, which is estimated to be about $340 million.

The newspaper also said Benson's youngest brother, Larry Benson, is part of a group that includes swimwear manufacturer Raj Bhathal and is represented in negotiations by former NBA player and coach Mike Dunleavy.

Bhathal and another potential buyer, Gary Chouest, reportedly met with Stern in New York on Monday. The Saints did not comment for the Times-Picayune story, but Greg Bensel, the team's vice president of communications, told that Benson was not at that meeting.

The NBA's Board of Governors will meet Thursday and Friday in New York, and Stern said last week that he hopes to be able to tell owners then that the league is close to securing a sale that would keep the Hornets in New Orleans.