Reporter: Vancouver could be favorite for NBA team

Apr 15, 2012, 8:19 PM | Updated: Apr 16, 2012, 12:14 pm

An NBA reporter for
ESPN says that if the Kings were to leave Sacramento,
Vancouver, British Columbia would be a “very
viable spot.” (AP Photo)

By Jessamyn McIntyre

The Sacramento Kings might be on the move after all now
that their arena deal has fallen apart.
But now it seems Seattle has a new, unexpected competitor
in its attempt to land an NBA team.

Ric Bucher, an NBA reporter for ESPN, told “The Kevin
Calabro Show” on Friday that if the Kings were to leave
Sacramento, Vancouver, British Columbia would be a “very
viable spot.”

“Maybe, quite honestly, the most viable spot right now
among places that gets the next NBA franchise that is on
the move,” Bucher said.

With investor Chris Hansen working to build an arena in
Seattle, Vancouver wouldn’t seem to be first in line for a
relocated franchise, but Bucher said the city has a few
things working in its favor.

“They have the corporate infrastructure, they have a
building that they can readily move into … they also
have a very hot hockey team there currently,” he said,
referring to the Canucks, who are in first place in the
Northwest Division. “It’s a place that [the NBA] doesn’t
want to give up on.”

NBA commissioner David Stern has faced turmoil in the
past year with several franchises, including the Hornets
and Bobcats and now the Kings. What would he think of a
move across the Canadian border?

“We know that David Stern has always wanted to make
this as global as possible. And everything that I’m
hearing is that the China experiment failed, that the
current owners are not interested in expanding into Europe
anytime soon,” Bucher said. “This is a way to expand back
globally a little bit without it being too risky.”

Some might see this as a blip on the NBA relocation
radar, but Bucher insists Vancouver will remain a strong
player in the battle for a franchise.

“It was one of those things on the NBA coconut-
telegraph that will not go away as far as Vancouver being
far more attractive than Anaheim,” he said, “and even
having the ability to elbow Seattle out of the way.”

Time will tell if the Kings will move from Sacramento
and exactly where they’ll land. The silver lining for
Seattle: Hansen is moving forward with his plans to build
an arena in SoDo and remains committed to bringing the NBA
back to the city.

The question remains as to just how long we’ll wait.

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(Photo credit should read JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)...
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Reporter: Vancouver could be favorite for NBA team