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Steve Ballmer apparently isn't the only über-rich CEO who's been mulling over a chance to buy the beleaguered New Orleans Hornets and bring them to

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Larry Ellison, a Richer Man Than Steve Ballmer, Already Tried and Failed to Buy the New Orleans Hornets

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Steve Ballmer apparently isn't the only über-rich CEO who's been mulling over a chance to buy the beleaguered New Orleans Hornets and bring them to his home city. Larry Ellison, Oracle Corp.'s co-founder and CEO, apparently already tried and failed to buy the team.

The San Jose Mercury News has the scoop, updated Thursday evening. Apparently before the NBA bought the Hornets from former owner George Shinn last month, Ellison offered $350 million for the team, but says he was "slightly outbid" by the league.

The Mercury's story came after a blog post on Forbes.com reported that Ellison was interested in buying the team and bringing it back to San Jose--where, presumably, the players would share showers with the Golden State Warriors (a team Ellison also recently tried and failed to buy) who already play at Oracle Arena in Oakland, some 36 miles from San Jose.

Ellison's claim that his $350 million bid was trumped by the league's is strange, considering that the NBA, according to Forbes, paid $310 million for the Hornets.

But I digress.

In comparison, Ellison has a net worth of $27 billion, and was the highest-paid American executive in the last decade, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Ballmer's net worth is $15 billion (yawn), and his $1.3 million in 2010 compensation comes nowhere near Ellison's $1.84 billion.

But buying a sports team isn't only about how much money you can put up (as the league's lower winning bid for the Hornets seems to prove).

And on that end, Ballmer's got Ellison beat.

NBA commissioner David Stern has said he thinks Ballmer would be a "hell of an owner." He's made no such claims about Ellison.

Once again, however, there are still a handful of reasons why Ballmer won't get to buy the team and fulfill all our hoop dreams (our arena problem, Stern's contraction preference, Kansas City's empty arena, etc.).

But whereas Bay Area folks now know with certainty that they won't be getting a new NBA team, Seattleites can at least enjoy the fact that they haven't been ruled out yet.

 
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