|07-30-2011, 01:10 AM||#1|
Join Date: Sep 2004
The NBA Destroyed (DDSPB 2)
Financial issues caused the NBA lockout to occur earlier than expected, following the 2009/10 season. With the 2010/11 season in peril and star players showing a strong willingness to play overseas for increasingly rich teams, few doubted an easy or quick resolution.
But that's exactly what happened, after basketball legend Izulde Jestor, tapping the connections he'd forged throughout his wanderings, laid the groundwork for an alternate professional basketball league. The proposal was so attractive to the players' union that they announced their intention to defect wholesale from the NBA and join the Jestorian venture.
The following basic rules were quickly established:
1. Needing to ensure enough teams to make a viable league in time for the 2010/11 season, league owners sought to buy the rights, name, and logo of defunct teams across the world of sports. While this circumscribed what cities were eligible in the inaugural season and perhaps subsequent expansions, it was a necessary and, in the eyes of some, cost-effective move.
2. In order to entice the players and make things simple, the old NBA's CBA would be used for at least the first season, with the following change - teams could now not extend players in season unless the player specifically filed paperwork to open extension negotiations.
3. Because this was a wholly new league, albeit with the NBA's players, a dispersal draft was implemented, a move that proved shrewd for the media hype it generated, including record-setting ratings for a professional basketball draft when it aired on television.
But that's all getting ahead of the game. First, it was necessary to find 22 brave owners or ownership groups who had the financial ability and daring to purchase extinct properties and forge them into a team.
The first three franchises were quick to form.
Anaheim Piranhas - Orig. Arena Football League (1994-1997)
Although in existence since 1994, the Piranhas were in Anaheim only for 1996 and 1997, having been the Las Vegas Sting for their first two years. The team never won a division title or an Arena Bowl and folded after owner C. David Baker became the Arena Football commissioner. With the AFL's constant financial troubles, purchase of the Piranhas property was smoothly executed.
With the announcement of this first team, the as of yet unnamed new basketball league declared its intentions to enter into newer markets while still retaining some vestiges of the old NBA. The league also made it clear there would not be two Los Angeles teams, as Commissioner Jestor, himself a fan of the Chicago White Sox, hated the second-class nature of one team in cities with two franchises. This did not, however, preclude an actual franchise within Los Angeles proper.
New Orleans Night - Orig. Arena Football (1991-1992)
Another former Arena Football team, the Night went 4-6 and 0-10 in their two seasons of play and, like the Piranhas, were an easy purchase, given how brief and unremarkable their history was.
The news of this second franchise made it clear to all involved that just because the NBA was dead, it didn't mean all of its cities would be left franchise-less. Although the Hornets franchise had struggled to make it in the NBA, the Night's ownership was confident of a fresh new team's ability to make it in Nola.
Cleveland Iron War Pigs - Orig. Florida Tuskers in United Football League (2009-2910)
Outright purchase of outdated, complete properties was not the only tactic pursued by owners. One consortium banded together to purchase the universal Florida Tuskers logo from the Marty Schottenheimer-coached Virginia Destroyers of the United Football League. The Tuskers were one of the few source teams with notable pre-hoops success - they made it to the UFL championship game both years they played (and lost both).
The Iron War Pigs' press conference was a great relief to the Midwest, which saw the Anaheim and New Orleans announcement that America's Heartland might find representation hard to come by. Long-suffering Cleveland fans were also thrilled to learn that the curse of the Cavaliers now had a chance to be lifted, and like New Orleans, a city got a chance to start over with a new franchise, likely mostly new players, and a new league.
But that was just 3. 19 more were needed to make the league a go.
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