NEW YORK – The NBA Development League will tip off its 16th season with a record 22 teams on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, it was announced today. Joining the NBA D-League are three NBA-owned expansion teams — the Long Island Nets (Brooklyn), Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte) and Windy City Bulls (Chicago) — and two NBA-owned relocated teams, the Northern Arizona Suns (Phoenix) and Salt Lake City Stars (Utah). All teams will play a 50-game schedule between November and April, and for the second consecutive season, every NBA D-League team is singly affiliated with its NBA parent club.
Windy City and Long Island begin their NBA D-League tenures with a matchup on opening night at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill. at 8 p.m. ET. The game is the first of four on the road for the Nets, who return to Brooklyn to play the first-ever regular season NBA D-League game at Barclays Center on Wednesday, Nov. 23 against the Canton Charge at 1:30 p.m. ET.
The 2016 NBA D-League Champion Sioux Falls Skyforce begins its title defense on Saturday, Nov. 12, at the Sanford Pentagon when the team hosts the Stars in their first-ever NBA D-League game at 8 p.m. ET. Salt Lake City christens their home floor – the Lifetime Activities Center-Bruin Arena on the campus of Salt Lake City Community College – on Friday, Nov 18 against the Suns at 9 p.m. ET.
The Swarm and Suns begin their first seasons on Saturday, Nov. 12, with Greensboro taking on the Fort Wayne Mad Ants at 7 p.m. ET at the Fieldhouse at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, and Northern Arizona playing the Iowa Energy at 9 p.m. ET at the Prescott Valley Event Center.
To accommodate the NBA D-League’s growth, the conferences and divisions have been realigned for the 2016-17 season. The Eastern Conference will include the Delaware 87ers, Erie BayHawks, Swarm, Nets, Maine Red Claws and Westchester Knicks competing in the Atlantic Division, and the Canton Charge, Mad Ants, Grand Rapids Drive, Raptors 905 and Bulls playing in the Central Division. In the Western Conference, the Suns, Stars, Los Angeles D-Fenders, Reno Bighorns and Santa Cruz Warriors will play in the Pacific Division, while the Austin Spurs, Energy, Oklahoma City Blue, Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Skyforce and Texas Legends will comprise the Southwest Division.
The 2016-17 NBA D-League schedule features 24 home games and 24 road games for each team, with every team playing an additional two games at the annual NBA D-League Showcase in January 2017. Date, location and schedule for the Showcase will be released at a later date. The regular season comes to a close on Saturday, April 1, with an eight-game slate. The 2017 NBA D-League postseason will begin no earlier than April 4, 2017.
Each team will play conference opponents four times, two home and two away, including games at the Showcase. Teams will play an additional 10 games against non-conference opponents. During the season, 57 percent of games will be played on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Fourteen NBA teams own and operate their NBA D-League affiliates for the 2016-17 season: the Brooklyn Nets (Long Island), Charlotte Hornets (Greensboro), Chicago Bulls (Windy City), Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton), Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz), Indiana Pacers (Fort Wayne), Los Angeles Lakers (L.A.), New York Knicks (Westchester), Oklahoma City Thunder (Oklahoma City), Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware), Phoenix Suns (Northern Arizona), San Antonio Spurs (Austin), Utah Jazz (Salt Lake City) and Toronto Raptors (Raptors 905).
An additional seven NBA teams have hybrid affiliation agreements: the Boston Celtics (Maine), Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids), Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley), Memphis Grizzlies (Iowa), Miami Heat (Sioux Falls), Orlando Magic (Erie) and Sacramento Kings (Reno). Texas has a one-to-one relationship with the Dallas Mavericks. The hybrid partnership gives an NBA team control of the NBA D-League team’s basketball operations while local ownership retains control of the business.
Fans can follow top NBA prospects and their favorite NBA D-League teams online at www.dleague.nba.com for live streamed games, highlights and insider analysis. The 2016-17 NBA D-League broadcast schedule will be furnished at a later date.
About the NBA Development League
The NBA Development League is the NBA’s official minor league, preparing players, coaches, officials, trainers, and front-office staff for the NBA while acting as the league’s research and development laboratory. Featuring 22 teams with direct affiliations with NBA franchises for the 2016-17 season, the league offers elite professional basketball at an affordable price in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. An all-time high 39 percent of all NBA players at the end of the 2015-16 season boasted NBA D-League experience. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. Fans can watch all NBA D-League games on nbadleague.com.