By Gregg Hoffmann
LA CROSSE – It looks like a deal between the La Crosse Center and a NBA Development League team may be dead.
Larry Crain Jr., owner of the Arkansas RimRockers, told the La Crosse Tribune the latest proposal from the Center board does not meet the requirements needed for the move of his franchise.
Crain said he was scheduled to leave on a business trip to Japan Wednesday and unless something happened the Board proposal “didn’t even come close.”
“Tell the people of La Crosse I am disappointed because I think they wanted a team,” Crain said. “I think it is something that would have worked there. You cannot make it work if you don’t have a favorable arena agreement.”
The Center Board had formed a sub-committee that was negotiating with Crain and NBA D-League officials about a lease. The stickiest issue was over date for February and March when the Center hosts several trade shows and conventions.
Crain and the D-League officials wanted Friday and Saturday dates, but few were available during those two months.
A survey of La Crosse downtown businesses done several months ago showed they favored having the conventions and trade shows over a sports franchise because they created more business traffic.
No official word has been given by Crain, the D-League or the Center Board on the status of negotiations, but Crain has said from the start that he wanted a deal by his trip to Japan. The Center Board said Crain had until next Monday to respond to its proposal.