The Knicks officially announced today that they’re going to own a D-League team in White Plains, New York starting next season. The expansion squad will be the D-League’s 18th franchise. The Knicks on Friday confirmed a report from late last month that they were ending their relationship with the Erie BayHawks and planning to set up a team in Westchester County, where White Plains is located.
The Magic may replace the Knicks in Erie, as Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel suggests, noting that the Magic are seeking a one-to-one affiliation in which they would run the basketball operations of a D-League club but leave the business side to local ownership (Twitter links). Orlando is sharing the Fort Wayne Mad Ants with five other NBA teams this year.
The Knicks become the seventh NBA team to own a D-League affiliate outright, while several others have the sort of “hybrid” partnerships the Magic want to arrange for next season. The Timberwolves are investigating the possibility of buying a D-League team, too, notes Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link).
Knicks assistant GM Allan Houston will serve as the White Plains D-League club’s GM, so it appears he’ll remain with the organization regardless of whether Phil Jackson joins the Knicks as an executive.
The new affiliate of the Knicks will play at the Westchester County Center, about 30 miles north of New York City. The Knicks also have their training and practice facility in Westchester County, so it appears the Knicks plan to make heavy use of D-League assignments in the future. This year, they’ve only made five, as our D-League assignment/recall log shows.