Benson's involvement in pro basketball comes as his football club looks to emerge from a bounty scandal that has resulted in head coach Sean Payton's season-long suspension.
While Benson was appearing with Stern at a court-level restaurant in the New Orleans Arena, the Saints were having their first day of voluntary workouts in nearby Metairie. Absent from the workouts was quarterback Drew Brees, who is seeking a new, long-term contract, and who was in New York to join players union and NFL officials discussing the Saints' bounty system.
When the line of questioning at the New Orleans Arena turned from basketball to football, Stern interrupted.
"I'm not going to allow my putative owner to answer that question," Stern said. "This is an NBA-related press conference."
However, Stern did not discount the value that Benson's ownership of the Saints, who are enormously popular and sell out every game, could bring to the Hornets.
"If you have relationships with (Saints) sponsors, some of whom might have made a mistake and not associated with the Hornets, or maybe even some Hornets sponsors who made a mistake and have not associated with the Saints, there are huge opportunities for both teams," Stern said.
Benson said some of his close advisers, whom he consults on Saints matters, also would be consulted about the Hornets.
There are some aspects of the operations of both clubs that could be more practical to consolidate, such as ticket sales, sponsorships and game-day entertainment.
However, Benson said he had assured Stern that the teams would operate independently of one another.
"They've got to operate separately," Benson said. "They're two different things."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.