That'll do Pigley...
Locations:NEW YORK, March 21 - NBA Commissioner David Stern announced today that the National Basketball Development League has awarded teams to four Southwest U.S. cities for the 2005-06 season. The teams will be owned and operated by Southwest Basketball, LLC, led by former Indiana Pacers general manager David Kahn.
The Expo Square Pavilion in Tulsa, OK.
"The expansion of the NBDL illustrates that the NBA's minor league has not only been successful in developing NBA talent on and off the court, but is a business proposition whose time has come," said Stern. "We are indeed fortunate to have attracted not only an investor in four new teams, but also, in the case of David Kahn, an experienced basketball person who knows what it takes to make these teams succeed."
The NBDL teams in Albuquerque, N.M., Austin and Fort Worth, Texas, and Tulsa, Okla. join the Florida Flame (Ft. Myers) as teams independently owned and operated in the league. The Asheville Altitude (N.C.), Columbus Riverdragons (Ga.), Fayetteville Patriots (N.C.), Huntsville Flight (Ala.) and Roanoke Dazzle (Va.) are owned and operated by the NBA.
Kahn worked for nearly nine years in the front office of the Indiana Pacers. From 1998-2002 he oversaw both the business and basketball sides of the organization; represented the Pacers on the NBA's Competition Committee; and managed a staff of over 120 when the team moved into Conseco Fieldhouse in 1999.
Kahn is credited both in Indiana and in league circles for his involvement in the successful launch of Conseco Fieldhouse, beginning in 1995 with local lobbying efforts and culminating in the fieldhouse's opening to worldwide acclaim in 1999. During Kahn's time in Indiana, the Pacers reached the NBA Finals once and competed in the Eastern Conference Finals on three other occasions. The organization was also awarded a WNBA team (Indiana Fever) while Conseco Fieldhouse developed into the Midwest's mecca for sporting events such as the Big Ten men's basketball tournament and world-championship boxing.
"We are bringing in a special brand of professional basketball featuring players on the verge of making it to the NBA and an affordable, family-oriented atmosphere," said Kahn. "We look forward to becoming a vital part of these communities and the ownership team in place for these four cities will ensure our NBDL teams are quickly embraced in this part of the country."
Announcements regarding team names, arenas, tickets and staffing tip off tomorrow, March 22 in Fort Worth followed by Austin on Wednesday, March 23. Similar events will be held in Tulsa on Tuesday, March 29 and Albuquerque on Wednesday, March 30. Ticket information on each of the four new teams can also be found by visiting www.nbdl.com/fortworth, www.nbdl.com/austin, www.nbdl.com/tulsa and www.nbdl.com/albuquerque.
"The NBDL is the premier minor league for basketball and we are confident these teams will become the standard bearers of the league," said NBDL President Phil Evans.
The NBDL offers players, as well as off-court personnel, the opportunity to develop their talent in a highly competitive atmosphere under the NBA's umbrella. Thirty-four (34) players have been called up the NBA on 48 separate occasions. Nine former NBDL coaches, five athletic trainers, 11 referees and 29 front office executives have also been called up to NBA positions since the start of the league's inaugural season in November 2001.
Ft. Myers, Florida (Florida Flame)
Columbus, Georgia (Columbus Riverdragons)
Asheville, North Carolina (Asheville Altitude)
Fayetteville, North Carolina (Fayetteville Patriots)
Roanoke, Virginia (Roanoke Dazzle)
Huntsville, Alabama (Huntsville Flight)
Austin, Texas (No name yet)
Fort Worth, Texas (no name yet)
Tulsa, Oklahoma (no name yet)
Albuerquerque, New Mexico (no name yet)
I think these are going to be the 10 teams for the NBDL personally and that 3 teams are going to share the rosters. 5 players each (15 total), especially considering that it looks like the injured reserve (where you have 3 guys put on it for arbitrary reasons) to be abolished soon. So now it's starting to make sense why David Stern and his cronies want an age limit.
Apparently, with the league having re-stocked itself with young talent (which it undoubtably has), the age limit will help the college game, bring ready made stars into the league for it's marketing potential to go along with Wade, Lebron, Amare, Bosh, Melo, Howard and a host of others, which will usher in the NBA's second golden era. Not to mention, that guys who don't want to go to college will have the option of going to the NBA's new minor league.
They without question picked the perfect cities in their 2nd round of expansion because Tulsa, Austin, Albuerquerque and Fort Worth are really college towns. No real sports once their teams are done. Tulsa and Albuerquerque are huge basketball towns and if the product is good (this is key, the games need to be uptempo and exciting, not slow and methodical) then they should have large turnouts.
The NBA actually hit a homerun here and I think I'm re-thinking my stance on the age limit, although I still loathe with a passion the social implications of it, but since it really doesn't affect me, I'll save that fight for another time, when I'm in a position to do something about it.
Until then, peace...