Capitals coach Carrie Graf. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Canberra Capitals coach Carrie Graf believes the city might not be big enough for a Cannons revival just yet, but is confident the former NBL powerhouse can be resurrected in the future.
The NBL is keen to expand from eight to 16 teams over the next five years, with officials visiting Canberra on Tuesday to gauge interest for a possible team as early as the 2015-16 competition.
The Cannons thrived in the 1980s-90s, before collapsing under financial pressure in 2003.
It is understood it would cost $5 million annually to run the team and no bids from Canberra have yet come forward.
Graf knows first-hand the difficulties of sourcing corporate support in the region.
''From a basketball perspective it'd be great to have a Cannons team back … but I'm not sure if the city is big enough just yet,'' Graf said. ''We don't have a big market here.
''It's tough calling on a smaller corporate market to try and get sponsorship.''
Graf said the ACT government was wonderful in its support for teams in Canberra, and it would be great long term to have a team back in the city.
Capitals star Abby Bishop said it would be beneficial for both the men's and women's teams to work together and possibly play double-headers at the AIS Arena.
''It'd be great for the Canberra community to have an NBL team here,'' Bishop said.
''It would attract a big crowd straight away. We've got some great sporting teams here already and to add an NBL team would make Canberra better in the sporting circle.''
The Capitals complete their disappointing WNBL season when they host the West Coast Waves on Friday night.
Attention has already turned to next season and the imminent return of superstar Lauren Jackson.
The four-time Olympian is sidelined for four months after having operations to repair a torn meniscus in her right knee and a persistent problem in her left Achilles.
Jackson hopes to return for the world championships in August.
''From a Capitals perspective, it's good timing for us,'' Graf said.
''She gets to do four months of full rehab and recovery at the AIS, where she has worked over many, many years, and we get her in world championship fitness and ready for the WNBL season.
Bishop hasn't ruled out playing with the Capital alongside Jackson next season, but she will weigh up lucrative offers from overseas.
''I would love to stay in Canberra, but at this stage of my career I have to do what's best for me,'' Bishop said.
''If that's to go back to Europe, I'll do that, or if it's stay in Canberra, I'll do that.''
WNBL: Canberra Capitals v West Coast Waves at the AIS Arena, 7pm.