Sydney is likely to have no presence in the NBL following the crushing announcement that the Spirit are set to go into administration this week.

In another huge blow to the national basketball competition, the Spirit are almost certain to follow the Sydney Kings into extinction as early as this week unless an extremely unlikely saviour comes out of the woodwork.

The development will throw the NBL into turmoil, as they would have to find a way to revamp the schedule midway through the current season.

In a frustratingly similar scenario that led to the Kings folding in the off-season, when the NBL board struggled mightily to keep communication open with former Kings owner Tim Johnston, the league is now having trouble contacting Spirit owner Greg Evans.

“The league office was informed by Sydney Spirit owner Greg Evans on Saturday that the team was in a perilous financial position and has indicated that he was planning to put the team into administration,” chief executive of Basketball Australia Scott Derwin said in a statement.

“We have since been seeking urgent talks with Evans to ascertain what, if anything, can be done either to help him maintain the team in the NBL for the remainder of the season, or to find a buyer for the Spirit’s license who could continue the club’s on-going operations.

“We have also opened up dialogue with a number of individuals who had previously shown an interest in investing in a Sydney-based NBL team with a view to getting them involved in saving the Spirit if at all possible.

“At this stage, it is simply too early to tell if there are grounds for optimism as to the team’s future, but we are facing the very real prospect that they may not be able to see out the remainder of the 2008-09 season.

“We expect to be able to make a further statement on this issue, and how it will impact the other nine teams in the competition, prior to the Spirit’s next scheduled home match against the South Dragons on Saturday night.”

The Spirit’s woes follow the loss of the Kings, Brisbane Bullets and Singapore Slingers after last season.

The club formerly known as the West Sydney Razorbacks were re-launched as the Spirit this year in an effort to attract all of Sydney’s basketball fans after the demise of the Kings.

But the experiment has failed, with the club failing to attract crowds to their Homebush Bay home.

It was widely expected the Kings may return in a revamped NBL next season at the Spirit’s expense, but the latest developments suggest the Spirit won’t even last that long.

“This issue, along with the other recent issues surrounding other former NBL clubs, clearly illustrates the reason why the standards for the new NBL will include far more stringent criteria in terms of ownership guidelines and financial guarantees when it is launched in season 2009-10,” the NBL statement added.