For more than five years, Canucks Sports and Entertainment chairman Francesco Aquilini has eyed the NBA, looking for a portable franchise that could be bought for a bargain and moved to Vancouver. Those sights are now set on the New Orleans Hornets. Sources say Aquilini, whose family owns the NHL’s Canucks but was never involved with basketball’s Vancouver Grizzlies, is inspecting the Hornets, who are being sold by the NBA and could be relocated in the next few years. During an interview this week, commissioner David Stern said Vancouver is one of several markets interested in a relocated NBA franchise, and went out of his way to praise the strong business performance of the Canucks.
Francesco Aquilini Rumors
Aquilini did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday. One source familiar with his NBA flirtations said Aquilini would require partners to finance a purchase, but that the NBA is impressed with the family’s stewardship of the Canucks. “We’ve had visits from, believe it or not, Vancouver, where the Canucks are absolutely doing a spectacular job,” Stern told ESPN.