NBA returning to Vancouver? Dare to dream...

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Cannie
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NBA returning to Vancouver? Dare to dream...

Post by Cannie » Sat May 16, 2009 10:52 pm

I can imagine some may have heard the rumblings from down south about the possibility of Vancouver regaining an NBA franchise.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1706 ... h-to-simon

Apparently, the Aquilinis have made inquiries to purchasing the Indiana Pacers and moving them back to Canada.

There are a number of factors that make this a viable event.

1) The Pacers franchise has been bleeding money, in a small market, with an unprofitable lease on their arena (Conseco). The owner, Herb Simon, is trying to renegotiate the terms of the agreement, and is using Vancouver as a bargaining chip. But, hey we've seen this kind of brinkmanship before, and it didn't work out so well for Seattle, did it? But Simon allegedly lost $20 million last year operating the Pacers, and in this economic climate, the super-rich are simply unwilling to carry a white elephant sports franchise as a loss leader.

2) David Stern has expressed a few times during interviews (ie. Bill Simmons podcast) that one of his regrets in his two-decade term as commissioner is that he prematurely pulled the trigger on the Vancouver market, that he did our city wrong in pandering to Michael (spit) Heisley's wishes to move the team to a glorified college city with a 7000 season-ticket base. Vancouver, by all accounts, was an excellent basketball market hamstrung by a poor on-court product.

3) The Canadian dollar, compared to the U.S. greenback, was at a historic low when the Grizzlies left town. How things have changed. Canada has weathered the effects of the global recession reasonably well, while many American markets are suffering. From the Winter Olympics, Vancouver will be getting a great deal of positive exposure in the next twelve months, which can only help our cause.

4) I can imagine many hoop-starved Seattle fans will migrate north to support the Vancouver 'Pacers', rather than sink south to barrack for the hated Trail Blazers. As if anyone could get a ticket in the Rose Garden anyhow. And when Seattle inevitably regains an NBA franchise sometime in the next 5 years, it will exacerbate the Cascadia rivalry that will be enhanced by the MLS 3-city battle starting in 2010-11. Re-pave the I-5, it'll be well-worn by caravans of travelling sports fans!

Hey, lets be realistic though, it's all speculative at this point, but it is nice to see the Aquilinis have the far-reaching business and community perspecitve that the Griffiths had in the 90s.

Cannie
Last edited by Cannie on Sun May 17, 2009 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NBA returning to Vancouver? Dare to dream...

Post by LotusBlossom » Sat May 16, 2009 11:09 pm

The Griz were screwed from the very beginning. The Raptors got to choose their GM, although it be a bad choice they were given that choice. The league appointed their GM to Griffiths when he was awarded the team. Stu(pid) Jackson. I know we could have gotten Ostertag if we were after a white boy. lol. Eh it's hard to fault the Griz choosing Reeves that year, he had a pretty stellar year in the NCAA. Many were surprised that Jackson choose Reeves over Cherokee Parks from Duke or Damon Stoudamire from Arizona. Pretty weak draft year but man, if the damn Timberwolves didn't take Garnett. :(

I was very bitter towards the NBA for taking the Griz and moving them to Memphis. Spending only 5 years in a city that could have welcomed BBall more if given a real chance. Things could be different now, but if the can award someone like New Orleans a franchise back after it failed the first time, it could happen that another team in Canada could be a possibility. I managed to hit a couple of Raps games and enjoyed the atmosphere. If the Griz were give half the chance the Raps were and a choice of our own GM we would still be in the league and had something to build around with Abdur-Rahim.

Eh...sighs.

Addition...isn't Indiana Hoosier country? I've seen one game in Bloomington in the late 90s. Talk about crazy. If I recall, they were playing their rivals, the Purdue Boilmakers, but that was years ago when I was still a BBall fan.
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Re: NBA returning to Vancouver? Dare to dream...

Post by Cannie » Sat May 16, 2009 11:28 pm

It's rather odd, in many regions of the U.S., the college game has such a strangle on the affections of the masses, that even the big-money pro franchises struggle to survive and thrive in some huge markets.

One prominent example is the Charlotte/Raleigh/Durham market (aka the golden triangle of college hoops-Duke, Wake Forest, North Carolina). The original Hornets, owned by George Shinn, were moderately successful on the court, but the owner was an absolute wanker, as he bailed to New Orleans when he didn't get his way.

The new incarceration, led by BET founder Robert Johnson and some b-baller/golfer named Michael Jordan that may have some star power in that region, but has also inexplicably floundered.

Another college region is Memphis, much to Heisley's chagrin, and a third is Indiana! Indiana lives and breathes for college hoops, and often the Pacers take the side stage to its high school basketball, with its legendary open high school tourney.

The problem is not unique to other major professional sports. Even in the NFL, the Tennessee Titans have always battled to compete with the massive college followings in the South-East. The Columbus Blue Jackets have battled the college bugaboo for years, and even the Minnesota Wild have had to compete with college and high school allegiances in their push to become a legitimate entity in town.

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Re: NBA returning to Vancouver? Dare to dream...

Post by Sid Dithers » Sun May 17, 2009 1:12 pm

A few thoughts:

1. Cannie...you referred to David Stern as 'Gary Bettman' (yikes). I like Stern, at least he has the balls to acknowledge a mistake and in some instances, correct it. Bettman has never ackowledged any mistake that I'm aware of.

2. The NBA is done in Canada, I think, at least as far as Stern is concerned. He's getting late in his commissioner-ship and doesn't need a job like doing a re-start in a Canadian city. Maybe if his successor is young, brash guy willing to stir the pot...

3. The Canadian dollar will always be a concern. It's solid now, but could slip back into the 60 cent range if/when the U.S economy rebuilds.

4. Allowing Indiana to leave for Vancouver would be a huge loss for the league. The Pacers are in the heart of basketball country, and leaving for 'the Canadian outpost' would be viewed badly all over the league.

5. Don't count on Seattle-ites coming up to see games. They're probably royally pissed at the league for lack of support, and wouldn't travel across the street to support the NBA, let alone drive 125 miles to do it.

6. I'm not so sure Vancouver has a huge appetite to get back into the NBA. We were treated like crap the first time around. People don't forget stuff like that. If the New Grizzlies came here, and sucked, people would not have the kind of loyalty that they showed the first time around when it really was our team. Fans would likely have a look for a year, get the bad taste back in their mouth and just say 'screw it'. I loved the NBA coming here back in 1995 and was very enthusiastic about the Grizzlies and the NBA in general. But if they came back, I'm reasonably certain I wouldn't have nearly the same enthusiasm for it. We've all been to the show, seen the puppet-master pull the strings, heard all the gripes...skepticism would be a major player.

NOW, if someone with a lot of cash wanted to give it a go, I'd say that Vancouver would make a great baseball city. We're an outdoorsy type city, folks love their sunshine, everybody enjoys going to a ballgame. We really need some sucker with a half-billion in his jeans to build a stadium. I'd be there for sure. Baseball, after the steroids mess, will be a very healthy sport going forward. It would be cool to be a part of.
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Re: NBA returning to Vancouver? Dare to dream...

Post by Farhan Lalji » Mon May 18, 2009 10:09 pm

Sid Dithers wrote: NOW, if someone with a lot of cash wanted to give it a go, I'd say that Vancouver would make a great baseball city. We're an outdoorsy type city, folks love their sunshine, everybody enjoys going to a ballgame. We really need some sucker with a half-billion in his jeans to build a stadium. I'd be there for sure. Baseball, after the steroids mess, will be a very healthy sport going forward. It would be cool to be a part of.
That would be awesome on so many different levels. 8-)

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Re: NBA returning to Vancouver? Dare to dream...

Post by Island Nucklehead » Tue May 19, 2009 9:09 am

God I hate baseball. Worst sport on earth (tied with lawn bowling and professional darts).

Bring back the NLL. If I can't watch Hockey I'll watch some lacrosse. Fastest game on two feet. Some good Canadian boys playing a rough and tumble fast-paced, fan friendly, Canadian game.

Fuck Baseball.

The boys of summer play baseball, the MEN of summer play lacrosse.

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Re: NBA returning to Vancouver? Dare to dream...

Post by Cornuck » Tue May 19, 2009 9:16 am

I never watch baseball on TV, but it's a great excuse to hang out and drink beer with friends.

Is Nat Bailey Stadium still around? That was a great venue on a nice summer day.....makes me thirsty just thinking about it. :drink:
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Re: NBA returning to Vancouver? Dare to dream...

Post by dr.dork » Tue May 19, 2009 10:23 am

Cornuck wrote: Is Nat Bailey Stadium still around? That was a great venue on a nice summer day.....makes me thirsty just thinking about it. :drink:
It is still around and just behind (NW of it, IIRC) is the Olympic Curling rink.

It is still a good place to watch a game on a warm summer day.

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