The Trail Blazers will take over the basketball operations of the D-League's Idaho Stampede in a "hybrid" partnership, the Blazers announced today (Twitter link). As Scott Schroeder of Ridiculous Upside explains (via Twitter), Idaho will still control the business side of the franchise, but the Blazers will have full control of coaching staff, player roster, and other baskebtall operations.
The Stampede had previously been the D-League affiliate for the Nuggets and Jazz, as well as the Blazers, but the new agreement will make Portland the Stampede's sole NBA affiliate. Interim Blazers GM Chad Buchanan called the move a "great opportunity" for Portland to develop young players and coaches, according to Joe Freeman of the Oregonian.
"The benefits can be great," Buchanan said. "You have a coach you hire that’s going to mirror what we’re running up here with the Blazers. You’ve got a roster that you’ve put together that you want to see. If we want to send (this year’s) draft pick down, we can send him down for two weeks and play him 48 minutes a night, get him 25 touches and 30 shots a game. We have control over that."
The Blazers become the fourth team to enter a hybrid partnership with a D-League franchise, joining the Rockets, Nets, and Knicks.