Fred Nance, the Cleveland lawyer who negotiated the Q transformation project, says the Cavaliers’ future in Cleveland is in doubt after the Cavs pulled their financial support and involvement from the plan to upgrade Quicken Loans Arena this week.
"I think it has put a big question mark on the future of the Cavs in Cleveland," Nance told WKYC, a TV station in Cleveland. "Because while the deal would have extended [the Cavs] lease and we wouldn't have had to deal with this until 2034, it's not clear what's going to happen in 2027 and owners don't wait until December 30 of the last year of their lease -- they start making those plans years ahead of time.”
The Cavs’ currently lease runs through 2027 and the transformation projected would have extended the lease through 2034.
The team decided to back out of the deal after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a public referendum on the renovations had to be held instead of only being approved by city leadership. The project called for $70 million from the city and $70 million from the Cavs. It is unclear exactly how much the Cavs, or owner Dan Gilbert, would have actually committed to the renovations.
The organization’s decision to end its involvement with the project also ended the Cavs’ hopes of hosting an All-Star game in 2020 or 2021. NBA commissioner Adam Silver had previously stated that renovations had to be underway by this fall in order for Cleveland to be in the running to host either game. The Cavs originally hoped to begin the upgrades right after the 2016-17 season ended.
“We have significantly diminished our ability to keep this team here as a result of this,” Nance told WKYC.
You can listen to WKYC’s full interview with Nance here.