NEW YORK – The Memphis Grizzlies and the NBA Development League announced today that the Grizzlies have acquired the right to own and operate an NBA D-League expansion team that will begin play for the 2017-18 season. With the purchase, the Grizzlies become the 19th NBA team to own and operate an NBA D-League affiliate, while the NBA D-League grows to 23 teams for next season.
“It’s a time of tremendous growth in the NBA D-League and I’m excited to continue our expansion into the South,” said NBA D-League President Malcolm Turner. “I’m thrilled to welcome the Memphis Grizzlies ownership group and franchise into the NBA D-League family of owners and I can’t wait to watch the team compete in the Mid-South next season.”
The Grizzlies’ new NBA D-League team will play its 24 home games at the 8,400-seat Landers Center, located 20 miles south of Memphis in Southaven, Mississippi. The Landers Center is also home to the Southern Professional Hockey League’s Mississippi RiverKings and hosts concerts, comedians and other events.
“This acquisition further demonstrates the deep level of commitment our ownership group has in building a world-class organization here in Memphis and the region,” said Robert Pera, Grizzlies Controlling Owner.
“We are excited to operate our own D-League franchise here in the Memphis area,” said Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace. “Player development is a primary focal point of our basketball operations under Robert Pera and our ownership group. Having the team in such close proximity, holding practices and maintaining offices at our state-of-the-art facilities at FedExForum, will allow us to best develop our future Grizzlies players.”
“We are always seeking opportunities to grow and better engage with our face base,” said Grizzlies President of Business Operations Jason Wexler. “Placing our D-League team in Northern Mississippi allows us to further strengthen and expand the Grizzlies’ brand throughout the Memphis and Mid-South community.”
Ticket information and pricing, as well as the team name and logo, will be announced in Spring 2017. Fans interested in season tickets can log onto www.memphisdleague.com or call (901) 888-HOOP and place deposits of $50 per seat to gain Season Ticket priority. Current Grizzlies MVP Season Ticket Holders will be given seating priority.
The Grizzlies are in the third and final season of a hybrid partnership with the NBA D-League’s Iowa Energy wherein Memphis controls the basketball decisions while local ownership in Des Moines manages business and community operations. During the partnership, the Energy has assigned seven total players for development or rehabilitation, including current Grizzlies Wade Baldwin IV, James Ennis III, Jarell Martin and Troy Williams. In total, seven current Grizzlies have NBA D-League experience, while assistant coach Nick Van Exel served as an NBA D-League head coach during the 2015-16 season.
More than 40 percent of players drafted into the NBA since 2005 have spent time in the NBA D-League, including almost half of the players selected in NBA Draft 2016 presented by State Farm. This season, more than 60 NBA players have spent time on assignment in the NBA D-League.
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 38 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.