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NBL owners get down to brass tacks

July 13, 2011

The first ownership meeting of the National Basketball League of Canada, which an Oshawa ownership group is in the process of joining, helped paint a more definitive picture of how the league will operate.

Taking place in Toronto, the eight-hour meeting had the Halifax Rainmen, Saint John Mill Rats and Quebec Kebs sharing their experiences and advice on branding, sponsorship, marketing and public relations strategies to help the new franchises get off to a solid start in their perspective markets, says a release from the league.

“We are pleased to report that the majority of our teams have met the requirement of establishing and secured their lease agreements for the 2011-12 season, and are currently in the process of finalizing paperwork for signatures,” says the National Basketball League of Canada’s Interim President & chief executive officer, Andre Levingston.

The Oshawa ownership group has been engaged with negotiations with the General Motors Centre management in order to sign its lease. Once the league receives signed leases from each ownership group it will begin to finalize the teams’ applications for approval, says the release.

League and team management rules were also discussed at the meeting. Rosters will be made up of 10 to 12 players, with a salary cap of $150,000, says a tweet from the NBL. Going forward, returning franchises will be permitted to submit a protected list to the league of five players from the previous season.

The NBL Canada Pre-Draft Combine will be held on August 20 and 21 at Seneca College in Toronto. The first day will be a free agent combine, while the second day will for Canadian players only.

On the night of Sunday, August 21, the NBL Draft will be held at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. The Draft will consist of three rounds: the first being free agents, while the second and third rounds will be for Canadian players only. All draft candidates must pre-register and attend the combine that pertains to their status to be drafted. The order of the NBL Draft 2011 was established by lottery for the four expansion teams, followed by the reverse order of the founding teams’ last season records. The official draft order will be released when 2011-12 NBL teams are formally announced.

Thirty-six regular season games will be played, with each team playing each other during three home and three away games. 

The NBL will use International Basketball Federation rules for play, but utilize 12-minute quarters. Playoffs will consist of the top four teams playing a best-of-three series and then a best-of-five series for the championship.

The owners also voted on holding the inaugural NBL Canada All Star Weekend in mid-January 2012, and established a process for cities to bid on hosting.

"This was absolutely the most productive, professional league meeting that I've been a part of in six years of basketball," says the National Basketball League of Canada’s Interim Chief Operating Officer Ian McCarthy. “During the meeting, each ownership group expressed their commitment to bringing an exciting product to their market, and to helping us reach our vision of transforming the basketball landscape in Canada.”

The league is also extending locked-out NBA players an invitation to come north if their season doesn’t begin as scheduled.

“What a great opportunity for NBA players,” says Andre Levingston. “NBL Canada can provide them with highly competitive play in professional arenas with great fan bases, while still being relatively close to home.”

The NBL boasts several former NBA players in its ranks already. Saint John’s is coached by Jaren Jackson, a key contributor during the San Antonio Spurs’ 1999 NBA Championship run. Halifax Rainmen coach Mike Evans also spent time as head coach of the Denver Nuggets and as an assistant with the Toronto Raptors.

“I am confident that NBL Canada can give NBA players an environment that will help keep their skills sharp and maintain their physical conditioning until the NBA resumes play,” stated Coach Evans.

The league is set to tip-off in November with a 36 game regular season schedule ending in March.

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