FRIDAY, 5:55pm: The Nets have officially announced via a press release that the franchise has acquired the right to own and operate an NBA D-League team, which will be called the Long Island Nets. “Today’s announcement is an exciting one – not only for the NBA D-League, which welcomes the league’s record 21st team; or the Nets, who will have a place for young talent to develop; but for Nets fans,” said Malcolm Turner, NBA D-League President. “The NBA D-League is a place where talented young athletes refine their skills and develop into NBA contributors, and fans in Brooklyn, and later on Long Island, are sure to enjoy watching current and future NBA talent in an affordable, family-friendly atmosphere. I’m excited to work with the Nets’ executive staff as we ramp up to the start of the 2016/17 season together.”
“The creation of a D-League club goes hand in hand with the building of a younger, more athletic Brooklyn Nets team,” said team owner Mikhail Prokhorov. “It will provide additional roster opportunities that will serve us well as we focus on realizing the full potential of our coaches and players, current and future.”
THURSDAY, 11:19am: The Nets will officially announce Friday that they’re starting up a D-League team to serve as their one-to-one affiliate for the 2016/17 season, reports Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. The team has repeatedly said that finding a D-League affiliate of their own for 2016/17 has been a goal, and CEO Brett Yormark tipped his hand today, saying that a “major announcement” would take place about a pro basketball team coming to the renovated Nassau Coliseum in the future, Bontemps notes. The team will play at Barclays Center for a year before moving into Nassau for 2017/18, according to Bontemps, and it’ll be called the Long Island Nets, according to NetsDaily.
The Brooklyn Nets will own the D-League team outright, NetsDaily reports, unlike their former one-to-one D-League affiliate, the Springfield Armor, which had independent ownership. That team moved to Michigan for the 2014/15 season and is now the Pistons affiliate. The Nets are paying the NBA a $6MM startup fee, the same amount of money the Knicks paid when they began the D-League Westchester Knicks before last season, NetsDaily also reports.
It’ll be one of at least two new D-League teams for next season, as the Hornets and the D-League finalized a deal last month for an expansion team in North Carolina. The Bulls also recently announced tentative plans to start an Illinois-based D-League team in 2016/17, as Eric Peterson of the Daily Herald detailed. The D-League would have 22 teams next year if the Nets, Hornets and Bulls all add affiliates, leaving the Hawks, Nuggets, Clippers, Bucks, Timberwolves, Pelicans, Trail Blazers and Wizards as the only NBA teams without D-League partners.