NBA Rumor: G League Expansion

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Several markets were considered for G League expansion, yet Mexico City’s established connection with the NBA, as well as its massive population, meant Capitanes had a leg up on the competition. “Honestly, it was a long, difficult process,” Raul Zarraga, managing director for NBA Mexico, told ESPN in January 2020. “This had never been done before, it was all uncharted territory, and negotiations were tough. But [Capitanes] made it happen in the end.”

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Capitanes will only play in the Showcase Cup, a 14-game standalone tournament prior to the regular season, which ends in a single-elimination format during the annual NBA G League Winter Showcase. When the competition wraps up in December, Capitanes will once again face a long layoff — they have no regular-season games scheduled after the Cup — before potentially enjoying their first full season in 2022. By then, the hope is the team will have finished its nomadic journey and begin playing home games in earnest. Mexico City itself should regain a similar frequency of hosting duties of top-tier sporting events. Just two days after Capitanes debuts in the G League, Mexico City will again host Formula One’s Mexican Grand Prix, its first large-scale international sporting event since the start of the pandemic.

The NBA G League, Denver Nuggets and Grand Rapids Drive today announced that the teams have entered into a single affiliation “hybrid” partnership beginning with the 2021-22 season. As hybrid affiliates, the Nuggets will control the Drive’s basketball operations and existing local ownership in Grand Rapids, Mich., led by Steve Jbara and a team of investors, will oversee the franchise’s business operations and community engagement. Grand Rapids, which will announce a new name and identity in the coming weeks, was previously the hybrid affiliate of the Detroit Pistons.

The G League’s newly formed “Select Team” — featuring prep stars Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd — is looking into making its home base at the Mamba Sports Academy, a training facility in Thousand Oaks, California, launched by the late Kobe Bryant, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Sources said the NBA and G League are exploring utilizing the developmental center to be the headquarters for the team, which offers prep stars a new path to the NBA.

The incoming G League team will test the possibility of establishing a full-time NBA franchise here if the league were to ever expand. “It’s certainly something that we’ve talked about in the past,” Adam Silver said in the press conference. He clarified that the league is not “in expansion mode” right now, and that the G League team would exist on its own merits to first and foremost help further grow basketball in the country. It’s impossible not to think about the possibility, though. “This kind of initiative for us with the G League team always helps all the variables that could be used precisely for this type of analysis,” Raul Zarraga told The Athletic.

“It’s important to understand, in Mexico, that we have a lot of fans of basketball, and we will always be looking for alternatives that will help them enjoy the basketball,” he said. “It’s not all about putting the games on TV. It’s that they need to touch, feel, breathe the basketball. And this is exactly what we are offering them.” Zarraga said there are 20 million NBA fans in Mexico, which could be called a good start for a country that has about 130 million people in total. It’s completely conceivable how this new G League franchise, which is partnering with a local team called Capitanes, could boost the sport and Mexico’s own first league, Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional. The country’s passion for the sport will need to continue before serious talks about putting a franchise here would even make sense.

Mexico City will have a G-League franchise in no more than two years, confirmed Arnon de Mello, vice president, and general manager of the League in Latin America, in an interview for the NBA portal in Mexico. “We are moving forward, but it is not easy because it will be the first time we will have a team from a great American League outside the United States and Canada. We are working to achieve it, we do not know if it will be for the next season, although that is the goal, “he said.

The New Orleans Pelicans and the NBA G League today announced that the Pelicans have acquired the right to own and operate an NBA G League team that will play in the renovated Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama. The team is expected to debut in Birmingham in the 2022-23 season following the renovations. With today’s announcement, the NBA G League expands to a record 28 teams for the 2019-20 season. In an effort to accelerate player development, the team will begin play next season in Erie, Pennsylvania, as the Erie BayHawks, while its permanent home at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) undergoes renovations. The name and identity of the team in Birmingham will be announced at a later date. The Pelicans organization will engage with the Birmingham community to determine an identity that best represents the city and the region.

“I’m so pleased to welcome the New Orleans Pelicans to the NBA G League’s growing family,” said NBA G League President Malcolm Turner. “The Pelicans join the league at an exciting time: We’re on the brink of 30 teams and are coming off our most productive season to date. I look forward to fans in Birmingham enjoying NBA G League basketball for seasons to come.” “This is a tremendous day for the Pelicans organization,” said Pelicans owner Gayle Benson. “I’d like to thank the City of Birmingham, Mayor Woodfin and Tad Snider of the BJCC for being such fantastic partners in the endeavor. These are exciting times for this region, and we feel so fortunate to be a part of it.”

The New Orleans Pelicans previously announced plans to join the G League fold for the 2018–19 season last May. The team received proposals from 11 cities bidding to call the Pelicans their NBAGL home. That list was eventually reduced to one (Pensacola), after Shreveport’s City Council voted 6–0 against a $150 million dollar project to bring the team to their city. Now, Pelicans General Manager Dell Demps told the media in a radio interview last week that the team is putting their plans on hold.

Here is the complete quote from Demps and his radio interview: “Right now, we’ve put things on pause. We’re trying to, you know, find the right situation, and the right city for the team to play is essential. Currently right now, you know, we use the G League and we’ve been using other teams that have G League teams and right now we just put things on pause until we can find the right home for us. I think it’s us and two other teams that do not have a direct affiliate right now. But it will come in the future, it’s just we haven’t narrowed down the specific spot yet.”

Establishing a G League franchise on Mexican soil would be the latest serious step by the N.B.A. to gain a foothold in Mexico and gauge the viability of putting an N.B.A. team in the largest market in Latin America. While stressing that his league is not actively pursuing expansion or relocation for any of its 30 current franchises, Commissioner Adam Silver has described Mexico City as a natural contender for an eventual N.B.A. team on numerous occasions this year.

The N.B.A. G League is scheduled to have franchises owned or directly affiliated with 27 N.B.A. teams next season as it continues to work toward its long-stated “30 for 30” goal, which calls for every N.B.A. franchise to have a direct affiliate in the developmental league. The Mexico City franchise is likely to begin operations before the G League reaches 30 N.B.A.-owned franchises, but, according to the people, it would be owned and operated separate from the N.B.A.

Shreveport and Pensacola, Florida, are the two finalists as home for the Pelicans new NBA G League team, according to a release from Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler. The G League is the old NBA Development League or D-League. The Pelicans organization hasn’t made any announcements about its finalists for the team that is slated to begin playing in the 2018-19 season. The other three cities that were in the running were Baton Rouge, Jackson (Mississippi) and Mobile (Alabama).

The Memphis Grizzlies today unveiled their new NBA Development League affiliate team name and logo, The Memphis Hustle, which will debut this coming 2017-18 season when the league will be renamed the NBA Gatorade League (G League). Led by Head Coach Glynn Cyprien, the Memphis Hustle will practice at the Built Ford Tough Training Facility at FedExForum and play their 24 home games at the 8,400-seat Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi beginning this fall. Memphis Hustle founding partners include The Coca-Cola Company, Tanger Outlets and The Guest House at Graceland.

Inspired by the cultural ethos of Memphis and the Mid-South, the team name, Memphis Hustle, encapsulates the idea of hard work and persistence, a true nod to the Grit and Grind culture of the city, the region and its enthusiastic and loyal fan base. The typeface is a true amalgamation of the rich music history of the region from Ground Zero to the birthplace of soul at Stax, while the newly designed inline combines inspiration from the Grizzlies and Beale Street neon with the flow of the mighty Mississippi River. Ending with the star, paying tribute to the region’s biggest names and looking ahead to the Grizzlies stars of tomorrow.

The New Orleans Pelicans have reached out to Gulfport as a potential destination for its new NBA D-League affiliate. That inquiry begs the question: Can minor league basketball work in the Coast’s largest city? There’s no large arena in Gulfport and minor league basketball has yet to succeed in South Mississippi. Gulfport is one of 11 towns on the Pelicans’ preliminary list, joining seven sites in Louisiana — Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, Shreveport and St. Tammany Parish. Mobile, Pensacola and Jackson are the other potential destinations. The Pelicans are also open to hearing from other cities as they enter the early stages of getting a team ready to take the court for the 2018-19 season.

The Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA Development League today announced that the Bucks have acquired the right to own and operate an NBA D-League team that will begin play in Oshkosh, Wis., for the 2017-18 season. As part of the deal, Fox Valley Pro Basketball led by Greg Pierce will be constructing a new 3,500-seat arena for the new minor league team. With the purchase, the Bucks become the 20th NBA team to own and operate an NBA D-League affiliate while the NBA D-League grows to a record 25 teams for next season.

Members of current Hawks management have a previous relationship with the BayHawks. Wilcox helped create and run the BayHawks while he worked for the Cavaliers. The BayHawks were a multi-affiliated franchise at their start. John Treloar, the Hawks current director of player personnel, served as the coach of the BayHawks for the first two seasons. Wilcox helped run the BayHawks for a third season before the Cavaliers bought the D-League franchise in Canton. Wilcox served as that franchise’s first general manager until he joined the Hawks as assistant general manager in 2012.
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November 27, 2021 | 6:43 pm EST Update