According to a report from ESPN.com, the NBA is set to assume control of the New Orleans Hornets.
Steve BallmerIs Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in line to take over the team?
The report said that longtime owner George Shinn's attempt to sell the team to minority partner Gary Chouest has collapsed. The league is now working on purchasing operational control of the team, similar to the arrangement Major League Baseball had with the Montreal Expos before the team was sold and moved to Washington, D.C.
A formal announcement on the ownership change is expected this week.
The ESPN story quoted an unnamed source who said the league's hope is to find new ownership that will keep the team in New Orleans.
However, the story said the league will place priority on the strength of prospective ownership, and not simply on keeping the NBA in Louisiana.
The story cited an unnamed source who said Seattle, Kansas City and Anaheim are potential markets if the team moves.
Ballmer created a flurry of speculation when he recently sold about $1.4 billion in Microsoft stock.
Rumors immediately started swirling that Ballmer intended to buy the Sacramento Kings and move the team to Seattle. But Kings owner Joe Maloof shot those rumors down, saying he has "never met Mr. Ballmer, we've had no contact with him and the team is not for sale."
If the Hornets indeed are put up for sale by the league, it will be hard to find an owner with more dedication to the league than Ballmer.
He was a major player in the attempts to keep the Sonics in Seattle and work out a deal to renovate KeyArena or build a new arena. His efforts, of course, failed, but he has always been a vocal proponent of the NBA in Seattle.
Maybe now it will become apparent what Ballmer intends to do with all that cash.