http://espn.go.com/new-york/nhl/story/_/id/8545550/islanders-following-nets-brooklyn?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitterThe New York Islanders have agreed to move to Brooklyn's Barclays Center from Long Island as early as 2015, sharing the arena with the Nets, league sources tell ESPN.
The team has scheduled a "major announcement" for 1 p.m. ET Wednesday. Commissioner Gary Bettman, Islanders owner Charles Wang, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz, Islanders general manager Garth Snow, and Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets chief executive Brett Yormark will be in attendance.
The Islanders' lease at Nassau Coliseum expires in 2015, and the team has been trying to secure a new arena near the site for some time. Nassau County voters rejected a $400 million proposal for a new arena, funded by bonds, in August 2001.
Wang has threatened to move the team from the site when the team's lease expires after the 2015 season. Wang, the founder of a computer software company, presented a plan in 2003 for a privately funded multibillion-dollar development of housing, retail and a new arena on the property, but the proposal foundered amid community opposition.
The move to Brooklyn isn't without complications. Under current plans, Barclays Center would hold only 14,500 for hockey, and sources familiar with the facility were skeptical regarding the arena's long-term viability as the home of an NHL franchise. At 15,004, Winnipeg's MTS Centre currently has the NHL's smallest capacity.
As recently as April, Bettman said Brooklyn might not be a viable destination for the Islanders because it's hard to reach for the team's fan base in Long Island and Queens. However, the team's announcement of a news conference at the Barclays Center trumpeted the fact that it is located "atop one of the largest transportation hubs in New York City ... accessible by 11 subway lines, the Long Island Rail Road, and 11 bus lines."
The outdated Coliseum -- it was built in 1971 and opening in 1972 -- is no longer suitable for the NHL once the lease expires. The arena holds 16,234, but the Islanders' average attendance last season was 13,191.
In an April interview with The Associated Press, Bettman sounded lukewarm about the idea of the Islanders moving to Brooklyn.
"Barclays, I suppose on some level, is an option," he said at the time.