|The Bradley Center's going to be sticking around the NBA for a while. (Getty Images)|
The Bucks have very quietly been the subject of murmurs abouta possible relocation. Owner Herb Kohl announced that he would not run for re-election in 2012, and while a Senator's salary is nothing huge, it does mark a shift towards a retirement which could impact his approach to the Bucks. Then again, he was estimated as having a personal net worth of $279 million in 2005, so he's doing pretty well.
But the bigger issue is the Bradley Center. The BMO Bradley Center opened in 1988, making it one of the oldest active NBA arenas. Considering its tiny capacity and low maximization of profits from its design, they need a new arena. But since the Bucks haven't been relevant in for-ev-er, there was a growing concern that the team could be sold or relocated to a city with a new arena in place.
But it looks like that's being dodged, as a report indicates that the Bucks are close to reaching a six-year lease extension with the old gal. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
The BMO Harris Bradley Center board of directors and the Milwaukee Bucks have been discussing a new six-year lease that, if approved by the National Basketball Association, will provide stability for both sides as discussion continues over the possibility of a new, multi-purpose arena.
Details of the lease were not released. Information on an extended lease came from the minutes of the BMO Harris Bradley Center's March meeting, which were released this week.
If approved by the NBA, a six-year lease would be, by far, the longest lease the two sides have had in years. In general, the Bucks and the BMO Harris Bradley Center have gone year-to-year on leases.
It seems more like a delay of the inevitable rather than a legitimate option, and it's going to keep the Bucks in a position to struggle to keep up with the rest of even the small market teams in terms of revenue generation. But it should be noted that the current agreement calls for the Bucks to pay the center no rent, and instead to receive revenue payments. It's a loss of profit but not a loss, to speak, to continue in the building.
It gets the issue out from under the crosshairs if it's approved, but it doesn't fix the problem. Eventually Milwaukee is going to have to pony up for a new arena, or the team is going to have to find somewhere else to play. For right now, owner Herb Kohl is true to his word of doing what's necessary to keep the team in town.