Thursday, March 20, 2008

Portland moves toward NBA team lease

By Kelley Bouchard Portland Press Herald Staff Writer March 20, 2008 12:25 PM

Portland officials continue negotiating with investors who want to start an NBA Development League team in Maine's largest city.

The city council is scheduled to vote April 7 on a potential lease agreement for the city-owned Portland Exposition Building on Park Avenue, said Nicole Clegg, city spokeswoman.

The council's finance committee is expected to hold an executive session next week to review details of a possible lease.

Councilor David Marshall, who represents the Parkside district where the Expo is located, will hold a neighborhood meeting to discuss the impact of such an agreement at 6 p.m. April 1 in the Portland Room at Hadlock Field, 271 Park Ave.

The investors include Bill Ryan, owner of Oxford Plains Speedway; his father, Bill Ryan, board chairman of TD Banknorth; and Jon Jennings, a former assistant coach with the Boston Celtics.

NBA D-League officials are looking at several East Coast cities in their effort to establish an eastern division.

Portland officials and the investors have said that a D-League team wouldn't displace current Expo users or cost the city anything.

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