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Mayor Cory Booker: Once Nets Leave, Newark Wants New NBA Franchise

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(credit: netsbasketball/twitpic.com)

(credit: netsbasketball/twitpic.com)

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Newark’s Prudential center is a gorgeous new building — one that will soon be without an NBA franchise.

The search is on for Mayor Cory Booker.

“We’re definitely engaging in conversations with folks who have put out feelers about the potential for our arena to host an NBA team,” Booker said on Monday, according to the Bergen Record.

With the New Jersey Nets moving to Brooklyn for the 2012-13 season, Booker is looking for teams “struggling in their current arenas.”

“That gives me signs of hope,” he said. “I think it’s an uphill battle, but I think it’s a winnable battle.”

Booker said he’s talked with NBA commissioner David Stern about the possibility if a team becomes available. “He’s never said no,” Booker said.

“He’s never thrown cold water at me,” he added. “In fact, we’ve had some conversations about if it were to happen, what would that pathway look like?”

Holding this year’s NBA Draft could help Newark’s search for a franchise. Normally held at MSG, the draft will give Newark and the Prudential Center a chance to shine in the league’s limelight.

“Having an event like the NBA Draft is another yardstick for us,” Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek told the paper. “This isn’t going to make us get an NBA team here. These are all just bricks in the wall.”

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