SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - According to a source with knowledge of the discussions, Shreveport is now considered a finalist to be the home city of the New Orleans Pelicans' affiliate for the NBA's development league.
"The city is in continued talks and it would be a significant positive impact if Shreveport is selected," says a city official.
The other cities previously considered in contention are Baton Rouge; Jackson, Miss.; Mobile, Ala.; and Pensacola, Fla. KSLA News 12 has reached out to those cities for comment on the status of their proposal.
KSLA News 12 has confirmed Mobile, Ala. is no longer in the running after deciding not to respond to the league's request for proposals.
"Our team conducted a comprehensive review of the criteria and determined that we simply could not make the numbers work based on improvements needed to the Mobile Civic Center," said George Talbot, Senior Director of Communications and External Affairs for Mobile. "Certainly, we are grateful to the Pelicans for the opportunity and wish the other finalists the best of luck!"
"The administration and SMG, the River Center management team, reviewed the request for proposals," said Baton Rouge Communications Director Janene Tate.
"The Pelicans organization has been notified that the city is certainly interested in a G-League team in Baton Rouge but the cost of renovations to the facility to meet the requirements of the team and the proposed revenue distribution is something the city cannot commit to at this time. The administration has offered to continue to explore the possibility of submitting a proposal, should there be some flexibility in the RFP."
"We felt strongly about our original meeting with the Pelicans organization in New Orleans and our recent meeting with governmental affairs rep Steven Pate went well in Pensacola," Vernon Stewart with the city of Pensacola told KSLA News 12." Our team is continuing talks with the Pelicans and we hope we are successful in winning the bid for them to come to Pensacola."
KSLA News 12 has not heard back from the City of Jackson.
It's not yet known how many of the remaining cities are still in the competition.
Meetings have been held recently about Shreveport's bid for a National Basketball Association G-League team. Through a public records request, KSLA News 12 has learned that Mayor Ollie Tyler held three meetings last week. Each of the meetings held July 5-7 was scheduled to last for a couple hours. It's unclear who attended each of those meetings.
Mayor Tyler and her team traveled to New Orleans to make the city's pitch to the Tom Benson-owned organization. What exactly was included in that pitch being kept close to the vest as city leaders have cited the competitive nature of the process as the reason for secrecy.
Shreveport council members have adopted a resolution supporting the city's bid.
If chosen, Tyler is proposing a new downtown sports complex to house the team. The plan is for it to also serve as a midsize sports event center for year-round activities. The Pelicans' new development team will begin its 2018-19 season in the selected city. A timeline for a final decision is expected in the next few months.