Frisco Mayor: Friendship With Texas Legends' Del Harris Had No Bearing on City's $90K Court Purchase
It's a pretty good time to be in Frisco, if you are the Texas Legends. Last week the Frisco City Council agreed to spend $90,000 in taxpayer dollars to purchase a basketball court for the minor league NBA team to play on.
Scott Ellis Frisco City Hall
By coincidence, Frisco Mayor Maher Maso is good friends with Del Harris, the former Lakers coach who went on to coach the Legends in 2011. More recently, Harris is described by the NBA as the Legends' vice president. But that friendship between mayor and Legends VP had no influence on this basketball court deal, Maso tells Unfair Park.
"Absolutely not, I never even discussed this with him," Maso says. In addition to being a friend, Harris also served as Maso's campaign treasurer in 2011. Maso can't recall how they met but guesses it was about eight years ago through mutual buddies. "He's a longtime friend," he says.
And, despite Frisco's insecure-sounding documents showing concern that the Legends may leave ("The City of Frisco agreed to provide a $150,000 incentive to the Legends to keep the team in Frisco"), Maso insists the team was never going to ditch Frisco. This money just makes it even more appealing for them to stay. "It's something that we thought would help them continue to be here," he says.
The floor Frisco purchased is the Dr Pepper Arena, a massive portable structure originally built for the 2010 NBA All-Star Game in Arlington.
The remaining $60,000 from that $150,000 incentives package is coming from private entities -- the The Frisco Economic Development Corporation is putting in $10 grand and the Dallas Stars are reducing the Legends' rent by $50,000 over the next five years.
"I keep hearing the term, 'You bought a floor for the Legends.' ...The Legends do not own that floor," Maso says. "It wasn't buying them a floor to keep them in Frisco, it was a lease hold improvement to make the facility better and also partner with them to continue their success."
Hopefully this means that edgier, more indie basketball teams from the Frisco hipster sports scene will also be able to play on the Dr Pepper Arena.