Came across a couple items of note today.
First is an article that I originally missed from early February that discusses the possibility of Pittsburgh getting an NBA franchise, building on discussion in Detroit in late January that the Pistons may move if local buyers can’t be found. Pittsburgh has the brand-new Consol Energy Center that is home to the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL. Although there seems to be doubt in many people’s minds (including Mark Cuban’s) that Pittsburgh is big enough to support two teams.
But my interest, of course, is the addition of the Detroit Pistons to the growing list of teams that may possibly end up in Vancouver some day. I remember it being a neat story in 2004 when the Pistons won the NBA championship at the same time the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup. The connection is that both teams were owned by William Davidson, who has since died and his widow Karen Davidson wants to sell the Pistons.
From what I understand the Palace of Auburn Hills in the Detroit suburbs is a pretty awful place to watch basketball, but the prospects of someone building a new arena in Detroit given the economic challenges facing that city seem doubtful. I’m not saying the Palace is so bad that a new arena is needed right away (like in Sacramento), but the fact that the team is for sale and might be purchased by non-local owners makes its future location an open question. Hmm, Vancouver or Detroit……
The 2nd piece of news is a column by Tom Van Riper on Forbes that reveals the Maloof brothers (owners of the Sacramento Kings) have applied for trademarks on various possible new franchise names for a team in Anaheim. It appears they will leave the Kings nickname in Kansas City and revert to the franchise’s original name, the Royals (from Cincinnati and Rochester). It was also suggested that southern California will be able to accommodate 3 teams and that back-channel talks with the Lakers and Clippers have probably already occurred in order for the possible move to progress this far.
Van Riper also mentioned something that I probably knew at the time but had forgotten – when Michael Heisley was looking to move the Grizzlies out of Vancouver, he originally considered the Honda Center in Anaheim. After 10 years, it looks like that building will finally be home to an NBA franchise very soon.