VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It has been 10 years since the “fur flew” in Vancouver with the Grizzlies. But, word is the NBA could return to town.
Are we are ready to bring professional basketball back to Rogers Arena? There was never a real lack of basketball fans in the Lower Mainland, but News1130 is finding some who say it would still be tough to support an NBA team here.
Hannes tells us he’d love to see professional basketball return. “But simply having fans in a city isn’t good enough to keep a team afloat.”
“I lived in Edmonton for 11 years and if you take a small market NHL team as a comparison, the Oilers probably have one of the strongest fan bases in the NHL,” he adds. “But they struggled to stay afloat there.”
Hockey has been successful in Vancouver, but Hannes points to the disparity in finances between the NHL and NBA. “Salaries in the NBA are reaching [at least] $100 million! I don’t think [an NBA team] would stay afloat here. I don’t think there’s enough capital in it. I don’t think there’s enough merchandising in it.”
Why didn’t the Grizzlies work?
Critics blame the Grizzlies’ original General Manager for the team’s disastrous showing.
News1130 Sports‘ Rick Dhaliwal says Stu Jackson made some bad draft choices. “Mike Bibby was one, [Steve] Francis was another one. He told them before the draft, “I’m not coming to Vancouver, don’t pick me” and they still picked him.”
“Big Country, he just did not pan out after they gave him $64 million. Shareef Abdur-Rahim, to his credit, signed the long-term deal,” he adds. “But at the end of the day, one guy wasn’t going to turn this organization around.”
He says Jackson’s biggest mistake was his decision not to draft Steve Nash.