Being a New Orleans Hornets fan the past few decades hasn't been easy. After a generally successful period between 2007 and 2011, the Hornets finished more than 20 games under .500 last season. This season they're 5-11, and off the court, the team is still dealing with the loss of its star, Chris Paul, who decamped to the L.A. Clippers, and, before that, the departure of the franchise from its home base of Charlotte, N.C., where former owner George Shinn couldn't make the franchise and a new arena gel with the city and its mayor.

In 2010, Shinn and the Hornets ownership team sold the franchise to the league, who then flipped it to Saints owner Tom Benson this April. Benson refitted the Hornets by implanting Saints executives to run the team and announcing early on his intentions to ditch the Hornets moniker.

Ideally, Benson wanted the name Jazz from Utah, but Commissioner Stern swiftly put the kibosh on that thought. 

Last night, according to Yahoo Sports, the Hornets told sources that the team will become the Pelicans perhaps as early as next season. 

The Pelican makes sense. Louisiana is the Pelican State, and pelicans are the state's official bird. Furthermore, the New Orleans Pelicans were a minor league baseball team in the city for more than 60 years.

Benson also considered Krewe -- the term for costumed paraders at Mardi Gras -- and Brass as team names.

Benson's wife, Yahoo reports, has a preference for navy blue, red and gold as the new team colors.

The Hornets transformation could affect one other franchise as well: the Charlotte Bobcats. With the Hornets name vacated, Charlotte could swoop in and reclaim its old moniker. Team owner Michael Jordan told the Charlotte Observer recently that if the Hornet name was available, the city would definitely reconsider it.