NEW YORK – The NBA Development League and Hornets Sports & Entertainment today announced that the Charlotte Hornets have acquired the right to own and operate an NBA D-League team. The team will be located in Greensboro, N.C., and will play its 24 home games at the Pavilion at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, which will be renovated into a basketball fieldhouse, beginning with the 2016-17 season. With the purchase, the Hornets become the record 11th NBA team to fully own and operate its NBA D-League affiliate, while the NBA D-League expands to a record 20 teams.
“Today is a historic day for the NBA D-League, the Hornets and the city of Greensboro,” said Malcolm Turner, NBA D-League President. “Having a 20th NBA D-League team, and the 11th that is owned by an NBA team, is an important and noteworthy achievement. We are thrilled to welcome Hornets Sports & Entertainment into the growing family of NBA D-League owners and are excited to continue to work with the city of Greensboro to bring NBA D-League basketball to fans across the state of North Carolina. I’m already looking forward to tipping off the team’s first season in November of next year.”
“This is an important step for our franchise,” said Hornets Sports & Entertainment Chairman Michael Jordan. “Having our own team will allow us to use the NBA D-League in a more efficient and worthwhile way. By operating our own club, it will be a seamless transition for our players, coaches and front office when we assign a player because the NBA D-League team will follow the same principles and run the same sets as the Hornets. Placing the team in Greensboro also allows us to expand the Hornets’ brand to another city in our region that has a great basketball tradition.”
Four members of the current Hornets roster have played in the NBA’s official minor league – Troy Daniels, P.J. Hairston, Jeremy Lamb and Jeremy Lin. The Hornets assigned two players to develop their games in the NBA D-League last season, and they have signed 12 players from the League since the 2004-05 campaign, including 2004-05 NBA D-League MVP Matt Carroll. Additionally, Charlotte assistant coaches Pat Delany and Steve Hetzel joined the Hornets following stints as NBA D-League head coaches in Sioux Falls and Canton, respectively.
The Hornets, who began the process to acquire an NBA D-League team earlier this year, join the Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge), Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors), Indiana Pacers (Fort Wayne Mad Ants), Los Angeles Lakers (L.A. D-Fenders), New York Knicks (Westchester Knicks), Oklahoma City Thunder (Oklahoma City Blue), Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware 87ers), San Antonio Spurs (Austin Spurs), Toronto Raptors (Raptors 905) and Utah Jazz (Idaho Stampede) as NBA teams to fully own and operate their NBA D-League affiliate.
Located 90 miles northeast of Charlotte, the Greensboro Coliseum Complex is a multi-building facility that includes the 22,000-seat Greensboro Coliseum; the 167,000-square-foot Special Events Center, which includes a 5,000-seat mini-arena; the 30,000-square-foot Pavilion; the 7,600-seat White Oak Amphitheatre; a 12,000-square-foot banquet facility; the 300-seat Odeon Theatre; the Greensboro Aquatic Center; and the ACC Hall of Champions. The Greensboro Coliseum Complex hosts more than 1,100 events annually and has welcomed more than 60 million guests since its grand opening.
“It is an honor to welcome the Charlotte Hornets’ new NBA D-League franchise to Greensboro,” said Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan. “We look forward to welcoming the franchise’s players, coaches and staff to our community. We are excited to strengthen our relationship with the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets and to have the new D-League franchise’s offices here at the Coliseum Complex. The Piedmont Triad is known for its passion for basketball and the games will offer fans another exciting, affordable, family-friendly sports entertainment option right here in Greensboro.”
The new NBA D-League team’s offices will also be located in the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, on the second floor of the Greensboro Area Convention and Visitors Bureau building. The business operations will be led by Steve Swetoha, who has been named by Hornets Sports & Entertainment as President of the team. Swetoha, who brings over 20 years of experience in the sports industry, spent the last six years as President and Chief Revenue Officer of the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock. In Tulsa, he was responsible for all aspects of the organization and secured one of the league’s largest jersey marquee deals. Swetoha is no stranger to the Hornets or the state of North Carolina, having previously served as Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales & Services for the then-Charlotte Bobcats and Vice President of Business Operations for the WNBA’s Charlotte Sting. He was also Executive Director of the ACC Football Championship game held in Charlotte in December 2010. Additional job postings can be found by visiting TeamworkOnline.com.
Ticket information and pricing for the team will be announced in January 2016. Fans interested in season tickets can visit hornets.com/dleague and place deposits of $25 per seat to gain season-ticket priority.
Playing with 19 teams for the 2015-16 campaign, the NBA D-League is set to tip of its 15th season on Nov. 12. Last season, a record 47 NBA D-League players earned a record 63 GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA. More than 40 percent of the last five NBA Draft classes have honed their skills in the NBA D-League, including 15 2014 first-round selections.
About Hornets Sports & Entertainment
Hornets Sports & Entertainment owns the Charlotte Hornets and operates Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena. The Charlotte Hornets are a member of the NBA’s Southeast Division. Owned by NBA Legend Michael Jordan, the Hornets organization strives to deliver a relentless attack on the court, an unmatched experience in the stands and a positive impact throughout the community. The name of the city’s original NBA team from 1988-2002, the Hornets moniker returned to Charlotte in May 2014, uniting the rich history of NBA basketball in the Carolinas. For more information, please visit hornets.com.
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 19 teams with direct affiliations with NBA franchises for the 2015-16 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 2014-15 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.
About the Greensboro Coliseum Complex
The Greensboro Coliseum Complex is a multi-building facility designed to serve the citizens of Greensboro and the surrounding area through a broad range of activities. The Coliseum Complex consists of eight venues including the 22,000-seat Greensboro Coliseum, the 167,000-square foot Special Events Center, White Oak Amphitheatre, Greensboro Aquatic Center and the ACC Hall of Champions. The Greensboro Coliseum Complex is one of the most actively booked facilities in the country hosting more than 1,100 events on an annual basis. With its incredible versatility, the Complex has gained worldwide acclaim from promoters, producers, event planners and patrons.