Contrary to a widely shared report by a website covering the NBA, league officials are not meeting today with Louisville government officials or the small group of local investors trying to lure the NBA into choosing the city for a new expansion franchise.
The report by 16winsaring.com on Monday stated that the NBA plans to add two new teams to the league within the next two years, with the current front-running cities to host the new expansion being Seattle and Mexico City. Noting that Louisville, Las Vegas and Vancouver also have been mentioned as possible expansion cities, the authors claim that “only Louisville is considered a serious contender as it stands right now. They have a meeting with the league on Tuesday and still have a foothold in proceedings.”
Insider Louisville emailed one of the authors of the report to specify who exactly was meeting with NBA officials on Tuesday, but he so far has declined to answer the question or provide contact information for the co-author of the report.
Asked if such a meeting would be taking place on Tuesday with city officials, Chris Poynter — the spokesman for Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer — said the speculation of the report was false, and the mayor would not even be in town.
Albrecht Stahmer — one of the administrators of the Bring the NBA to Louisville social media accounts, as well as one of a small group of local investors trying to lay the groundwork for an expansion franchise bid — also downplayed the report, telling IL in an email that “we know nothing about such a meeting being scheduled and are enormously skeptical.”
Stahmer — who currently lives in Singapore but is back in Louisville this week to meet with some of his fellow investors — added that they “continue to pursue a majority investor with hopes of making a bid for an NBA expansion franchise for Louisville, but we have no comment with regards to any progress on that front at this point.”
The strong point for Louisville as an expansion franchise candidate is the presence of the world-class KFC Yum! Center as its possible home, though some agreement would have to be reached to share it with the University of Louisville Athletics Association, which has a long-term lease as its anchor tenant. Local and state officials have been in negotiations with the UofL athletics department in recent months in an attempt to alter the university’s lease to allow more of its NCAA-leading revenue to go toward debt payments for the arena, as there is fear that the arena will default within four years when those debt payments begin to rapidly increase.
***** UPDATE 4:48 p.m. *****
Adam Joseph, the co-author of the article on 16winsaring.com, messaged IL on Twitter to indicate that he stands by the story.
“We are not an NBA blog… We are an NBA website,” wrote Joseph. “The article was clear & we’ve also clarified we stand by the information provided to us.”