The Aomori Prefecture expansion franchise will push back its entry into the bj-league until 2013-14, the league announced on Friday, confirming a report The Japan Times published several weeks ago.
A new Tokyo franchise, the Gunma CraneThunders and the Aomori team were set to join the league for 2012-13, bringing the number of franchises to 22. Now, barring one or more of the league’s current team suspending operations or folding, the league will have to juggle an odd number of teams for the coming season’s schedule.
A news release issued by the league didn’t offer detailed specifics, but hoop insiders said the Aomori group has run into financial problems.
Since its inception in 2005 with six teams, the bj-league has expanded every season.