Basketball: Nuggets 'right to pull pin'

National Basketball League chairman Sam Rossiter-Stead believes Basketball Otago has made the right decision by pulling the Nuggets out of the league.

Basketball Otago chairman Ricky Carr could not be reached for comment yesterday but Rossiter-Stead confirmed the Nuggets would not be part of the 2015 league.

''Chairman Ricky Carr has let the NBL board know that they have decided not to enter a team in 2015,'' he said.

''They are taking a year out to regroup, as they have done before so successfully in the past.

''From my point of view, it is very disappointing that we won't have an NBL team based in Otago next year.

"All those young players down there won't have that team to support and aspire to. But having said that, we respect their reasons for doing so.''

''I don't know the exact details of their situation but I was very involved in 2008 when they made the decision to drop out [in 2009] and ultimately it turned out to be the right decision.

''Every time a team decides to take a break, it is disappointing, but it is far better than the alternative, which is for a team to hit financial issues during a campaign. We'd much rather have an early signal, as we have in this case, that there are some issues which need to be resolved.''

The decision to skip a year does not mean the Nuggets will necessarily find it hard to get back in the league, either, Rossiter-Stead added.

''Dunedin is a priority area for us to have a team and there are many examples of teams dropping out for a year.

''Waikato recently did it very successfully and obviously Canterbury produced a very strong team in their first year back in the NBL.''

BBO board member Todd Marshall was instrumental in helping the Nuggets get back on court in 2010 and now finds himself part of the board responsible for pulling the team out of the league.

Although he wrestled with the decision, BBO had to be the top priority, he said.

''We are definitely not in a position to enter a team at this stage,'' Marshall said, describing the situation as ''grim''.

BBO has declined requests to provide a copy of the audited accounts for the financial year ending 2013 but the Otago Daily Times understands the organisation will report a deficit of about $50,000 for the period.

It is a big deficit but a source close to the issue believes BBO's overall financial position is significantly worse.

''The exact size of Basketball Otago's debt is several times the previously quoted figure and questions must now be asked about the competence of the governance structure they've had in place and the financial controls that were in operation,'' the source said.

''Chairman Ricky Carr's position must surely now be untenable. Whether it is his fault or not, he has overseen a disastrous period in BBO history.''

Basketball New Zealand chief executive Iain Potter did not return calls.

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