NBL Gets Down to Business
UPDATE: KINGSTON OUT OF NBL
With Barrie unable to meet the deadlines and agreements still to be formalized, I was told there was no hard deadline for final franchise approvals because the league was so confident. There is even a quote from the interim COO below to that affect.
Imagine my surprise when mere hours later I get a press release stating the Kingston, ON, franchise failed to reach a deal with the City.
The National Basketball League of Canada took a major step forward and put a number of league rules and policies in place for the upcoming inaugural season.
One unfortunate piece of business confirmed during these meetings was that the league will consist of seven teams instead of the originally hoped for eight. Barrie, ON, was unable to meet the necessary deadlines to begin operations this fall, but may still join Halifax, Saint John, Ouebec, Charlottetown, Oshawa, Kingston and London for the following season.
The four expansions franchises are still finalizing lease agreements before they can be formally approved, but there is little fear they will not.
“We are confident where the seven teams are in their process with applications and leases,” said interim league COO, Ian McCarthy. “We expect to formally announce these teams by mid-July once all paperwork is finalized.”
The meeting also provided the opportunity for the owners to hold a formal voting period. During this period, a host of important items relating to the upcoming season were discussed and decided upon.
Each team will play a 36 game schedule. That will mean each franchise will visit the other NBL cities three times, and conversely host each team three times.
The top four teams in the league will move onto the playoffs, which will consist of a best of three first round, followed by a best of five championship round.
Rosters will consist of a minimum 10 players and a maximium 12, two of which must be Canadian.
Halifax, Saint John and Quebec will be able to protect five players from their previous rosters, while the rest will become free agents.
A three round draft has been scheduled for August 21. Prior to the draft, prospective players will be invited to a two-day combine. Day one of the combine will be for the evaluation of free agents, while day two will be exclusively for Canadian players.
As with the combine, the first round of the draft will be opened to free agents, but rounds two and three will again be exclusively for Canadian talent.
An All-Star weekend bis planned for mid-January, but the process for determining the host city has not been decided upon. While cities like Halifax have an established fanbase, this could be a good opportuity to highlight the league to a burgeoning market in Ontario.
Also, it will be interesting to see how a potential NBA labour dispute could affect the NBL. At the very least, the NBL will be able to offer a competitive product in the absence of the best basketball league in the world. It may be a little far fetched, but perhaps NBA first rounders like Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph will choose to take their talents to North beach (aka Canada)?