Two Teams Return To New Zealand Basketball Days After Dismissal From League
New Zealand's National Basketball League has been boosted by the "reintroduction of two major teams," according to Kris Shannon of the APNZ. The Auckland Pirates and Waikato Pistons will "take their place in next season's competition," with the Pirates' inclusion "coming mere days after Basketball Auckland announced the team's withdrawal." The NBL was at risk of facing a season without teams in three of the country's four biggest cities. Now, with the Pistons back after a year in exile, due to financial reasons, "next season's competition is suddenly shaping as the strongest in recent years." Off the court, however, Basketball Auckland "raised serious questions about the league's financial model when it withdrew the defending champion Pirates." Basketball Auckland Chair Chris Ford hinted at potential backers "coming out of the woodwork" when the withdrawal was made public. His prediction has proven true, with NBL Chair Sam Rossiter-Stead confirming the Pirates "have moved away from Basketball Auckland and will operate independently under new ownership" (APNZ, 11/11).