MEMPHIS (WATE) – The Memphis Grizzlies announced Tuesday that the team will be able to own and operate a NBA D-league expansion team for the 2017-2018 season.
The Grizzlies will be the 19th NBA team to have a NBA D-League affiliate. The team will play at the Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi, 13 miles from Memphis. The new team will share the Landers Center with the Mississippi RiverKings hockey team.
“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 are in the final season of its partnership with the Iowa Energy D-League team. The Minnesota Timberwolves plan to buy the Iowa team. During the three-year partnership, the Grizzlies have assigned seven players for development or rehabilitation, including Wade Baldwin IV, James Ennis III, Jarell Martin and Troy Williams.
“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 and holding practices at our state-of-the-art facilities at FedExForum will allow us to best develop our future Grizzlies players.”
According to the Grizzlies, more than 40 percent of the NBA players drafted since 2005 have spent time on a D-League team. More than 60 current players in the NBA have spent time on a NBA D-League.
“We are always seeking opportunities to grow and better engage with our fan base,” Grizzlies President of Business Operations Jason Wexler said. “Placing our D-League team in North Mississippi allows us to further strengthen and expand the Grizzlies’ brand throughout the Memphis and Mid-South community.”
The new team’s name and logo will be announced in the spring. For ticket information, visit MemphisDLeague.com or call 901-888-HOOP.Related:Grizzlies’ Randolph makes $20K donation to help pay utility bills for those in need