While I have not had a chance to read the book, Mark Story has an interview with Lloyd "Pink" Gardner, author of The Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association: The Real Story of a Team Left Behind alongside Gary West.
Here's one tidbit of what might be had Dan Issel not been traded:
Q: After winning the ABA title in 1975, the Colonels traded Dan Issel in a cost-cutting move that did not go down well with fans. If that trade hadn't happened, would the Colonels be in the NBA now?Gary West was the former daily sports editor with The Kentucky Kernal.
A: The phones rang off the hooks with people canceling season tickets because we'd gotten rid of Dan Issel. In my opinion, if we hadn't traded Dan, we would be in the NBA today.
Q: If the NBA came to Louisville now, would it work?
A: In 1975, both U of L and UK were in the Final Four and the Colonels won the (ABA) championship. So they all were surviving.
Could pro basketball survive (in Kentucky) today with the salaries? Who knows? I certainly would have liked to see it.