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CANADIANS SEE A TOUGHER INITIATION FOR NBA EXPANSION TEAMS
Published October 4, 1994
In Vancouver, Mike Beamish compares the last round of NHL expansion (Anaheim & Florida) with the latest round of NBA expansion (Toronto and Vancouver), and concludes when the NHL decided to expand, "Rather than just the dregs, which is what any previous expansion team had been offered, the Panthers and Mighty Ducks were allowed to be respectable in their first season in the interests of establishing a hockey footprint in the American Sunbelt." By the same process, the NBA, "a league accustomed to innovation and less rigid infrastructure, chose the traditional style when it made its move into Canada. The theme of the latest NBA shakedown: Let's hose the hosers." The new NBA teams had to pay an entry fee of $125M, but will only get the 6th or 7th pick in the '95 draft, and the current teams will get to protect eight players on their 12 man rosters for the expansion draft. Other restraints: the new teams have agreed to a $10.6M salary cap in their first year versus the approximately $16M for other teams (VANCOUVER SUN, 10/4). The cap rises to 75% of the league's cap in the 2nd season, and then equal in the 3r. The expansion draft is tentatively scheduled for June 21 in Toronto -- a week before the regular NBA draft (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/4). VANCOUVER WATCH: The Grizzlies have "deposits on hand" for just over 7,000 season tickets and 1,244 suite seats at "now under-construction" General Motors Place. The NBA requires that 50% of the dollar value of a minimum 15,000 season tickets be in place by December 31. With that deadline "hanging around their necks like an albatross," the Grizzlies announced three new ticket-buying plans -- aimed at "casual fans, youngsters who attend elementary or high school, and employees who may want to purchase season tickets through payroll deductions if their companies participate." Grizzlies VP/GM Stu Jackson admitted it's difficult for the Grizzlies to create a "sense of urgency for ticket buying." But he adds: "In-house, there's a real sense of urgency" (Dan Stinson, VANCOUVER SUN, 10/4). WORK STOPPAGE GOOD FOR VANCOUVER: "The only possible silver lining of a shutdown" for Vancouver is that the '94-95 season might be delayed -- and with it the "onerous stipulation that the Grizzlies must come up with 15,000 season ticket buyers" by December 15. But then any work stoppage "might bring out the fans' frankly-I-don't-give-a-damn resentment" (Mike Beamish, VANCOUVER SUN, 10/4).