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Cleveland Cavaliers

Report: Columbus wants an NBA franchise

By Jason Lloyd Published: May 10, 2012

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman has informed NBA Commissioner David Stern that his city wants an NBA franchise, the Columbus Dispatch reported on Thursday. Coleman sent a letter to Stern this week expressing the city's interest in either an expansion or relocated team, but it won't be easy.

Stern has made it clear in recent times that expansion simply isn't an option right now for the NBA, which already has 30 teams. And even if it was, Columbus would be well behind Seattle, which has fought hard to land another NBA team after the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008.

With the New Orleans ownership situation settled, the only other team with thoughts of leaving are the Kings, who continue to negotiate with the city of Sacramento for a new arena deal. Kings owners Gavin and George Maloof have threatened to move the team to Anaheim, Calif., if a deal isn't reached, while Seattle is again lying in the weeds to perhaps land the Kings. 

While the city of Columbus can certainly try, it's difficult to envision the Maloofs, who own the Palms Casino in Las Vegas, relocating their franchise to the Midwest. 

Cavs owner Dan Gilbert told the Dispatch he would "have to think about" whether he would try to block the move of another franchise into his back yard. While he might not say it now, the Cavs certainly would not be happy with another franchise in the same state and less than 150 miles from Quicken Loans Arena.

The Cavaliers have played preseason games at Value City Arena on Ohio State's campus, although an NBA franchise would be located at the city's downtown venue, Nationwide Arena.

NBA owners would have to approve a relocation, but it's worth noting the only states with more than one NBA franchise are Texas, Florida, New York and California. The Nets' move to Brooklyn will give New York two teams next season, Florida has two, Texas has three and California has four teams (two in Los Angeles).

Columbus' metropolitan area population is about 1.9 million, according to the Dispatch report. Seven NBA cities have smaller metropolitan populations: Charlotte, Indianapolis, Memphis, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Salt Lake City.

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