NBA will review request for expansion team this summer

Wednesday, May 22nd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Charlotte, North Carolina-AP) -- Charlotte may not have to wait long for a new NBA team.

NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik says the league will consider a request from basketball legend Larry Bird after the playoffs end this summer to place an expansion team in Charlotte.

Granik says no team could be awarded to Charlotte without an ``absolute guarantee'' of a new arena. He says with an arena deal, the city's chances would be ``pretty good.''

The city lost the Hornets to New Orleans earlier this month.

Several city leaders have said they're willing to build an arena if the N-B-A guarantees Charlotte a new team. A key Charlotte City Council committee voted yesterday to preserve a 231-(m)-million-dollar financing plan for a new arena.

Bird, former Boston Celtics coach ML Carr and Boston-area millionaire Steve Belkin have contacted the league about putting an expansion team in Charlotte.