New Orleans Pelicans forward Cheick Diallo, right, dunks against Los Angeles Clippers forward Marries Speights during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu) ORG XMIT: LAS123

Ringo H.W. Chiu

And then there were five.

St. Tammany Parish, one of six locations named as finalist to host the New Orleans Pelicans' NBA Developmental League team, will not be bidding after all.

Parish spokesperson Ronnie Simpson notified The Advocate via text message Monday about the decision.

The decision was based on budget constraints.

"After the razor thin loss of our justice center and jail sales tax renewal, parish government must now find a way to pay for jail, court and DA state mandated cost from our general fund," Simpson texted. "Essentially we have $33 million in costs and $15 million in funding. Building, or retrofitting, a venue for a basketball team is unfortunately not a priority at this time."

Five cities, including two in Louisiana, remain as possible sites to host the franchise, which will begin playing in the 2018-19 season.

Baton Rouge and Shreveport were among the finalists, along with Jackson (Mississippi), Mobile (Alabama) and Pensacola (Florida).

"We appreciate the Pelicans organization for asking us to put forth a competitive package and wish them success in this endeavor," Simpson said.

The Pelicans announced the six finalists in April, but didn't give a timetable for when a site will be selected.

In late March when the Pelicans announced they were adding a D-League team, Alvin Gentry said that having a team in proximity to New Orleans would be a key benefit for the team.

“To have your own D-League team and be able to run it and basically have them run your same offense is important,” Gentry said in April. “When I was at Golden State (who operates the Santa Cruz Warriors), I thought that was one of the big advantages we had, because we had coaching and players within proximity of us and we could send someone down and bring them back in the day. So, to have those guys be able to run down and play and still come back and play with us, I think it’s really important.”


Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.