Although Canada may not see another NBA team for a long time, the Portland Trail Blazers are considering having a G league team in Vancouver. The possibility was suggested back in July by Vancouver-based sports anchor.
The G League is like a minor league for the NBA. It is for players who go undrafted who want to play professionally in America. It is also a way for undrafted players to get into the NBA. G League teams are a good thing for the NBA because the NBA-affiliated team can buy players for cheap off their G League contracts.
A Vancouver G-League team would practice at the Langley events Centre. This team could be a breath of fresh air and have some big effects on basketball in Canada. For one, more Canadian players would make it to the NBA. This is because G League teams hold local tryouts once a year picking up two players for their rosters.
This is also good for the league because lots of Canadians want an NBA team besides Toronto and a G League team could make that possibility more likely. “I missed out on seeing the Grizzlies play. I was too young, it would have been cool to see many different teams come here.” said by a classmate.
In 1995 Vancouver and Toronto got expansion teams in the NBA: the Toronto Raptors and the Vancouver Grizzlies. When the Vancouver Grizzlies were in the NBA from 1995-2001, they were the worst ever. Their best win percentage was in their final season and it was an embarrassing .280.
Vancouver had a lot of problems and handicaps because of the league. For starters, after a “problem” of new teams getting big all-star players in their first few drafts, the NBA handicap newer teams like Vancouver. Vancouver wasn’t allowed to get a top draft pick until their fifth season. They only played six. The underperforming franchise was losing millions of dollars. Also, Vancouver was also not allowed to spend their entire salary cap for a couple of years. With these handicaps, the NBA crushed new teams and made them worse then they could’ve been.
Vancouver’s upsets had made them a laughingstock in the NBA. Nobody wanted to play there. Players turned down trades citing reasons like, “the weather is bad,” or how “it’s too far from home.” Eventually, the poor situation brought about discussion for franchise sales to places like St Louis, Nashville, and Anaheim before the NBA let the team be sold to Memphis where it still is today.
A G league team would create a higher chance for Vancouver’s NBA team to come back from a marketing perspective. There is good chance the franchise would be more successful this time around given the overall growth in NBA attendance in the years since the Grizzlies were sold. The 2018-19 season, for example broke all time attendance records for the fourth straight year.
If Vancouver ends up getting a G League they will be practicing in Langley, and possibly putting up large ticket sales compared to other G League teams which, unlike Vancouver, have to compete against a nearby NBA team for basketball ticket sales and viewership. Overall this could be a good move for everyone. It will bring new fans to the G League and a lot more money. And if Vancouver gets a restart in the NBA, things might turn out differently this time around.
Image: Wikimedia Commons/Arsenikk