The following is an excerpt from an interesting Gary Post-Tribune article. Please keep in mind while reading it that Jewell, Sr. wants to remain with the CBA and Jewell, Jr. would like to defect to the NBDL. Jewell, Sr. is the owner:
With four CBA teams defecting to the NBDL, the Steelheads could be looking to make the switch in the near future as well
April 16, 2006
By Michael Osipoff / Post-Tribune staff writer
The landscape of minor league basketball certainly is changing.
After several years of mostly unfulfilled talk, this offseason has seen movement toward consolidation into a single entity.
Where the Steelheads fit on that shifting landscape has yet to be determined.
Four teams three existing and one expansion have left the CBA to join the NBA Development League, leaving Gary as one of five teams remaining in the CBA, along with the Rockford Lightning, Michigan Mayhem, Yakama Sun Kings and Albany Patroons.
Officials from that league have insisted it will return in 2006-07 for its 61st season, and have talked about the possibility of adding perhaps a half-dozen or more new teams.
Still, whereas the two minor leagues had been on relatively equal footing, the balance of power clearly has shifted to the so-called D-League.
This season has been the first in which NBA teams have had specific D-League affiliates with each NBA team having three or four; for example, the Bulls, Pacers, Bucks and Hornets are affiliated with the Tulsa 66ers strengthening the leagues position. And particularly in light of recent developments, the NBA-owned league has emerged as the dominant one.
So, where does that leave the Steelheads?
They generally have been satisfied being members of the CBA. But the D-League, with its NBA support and affiliation, also is attractive.
Its just a fact the NBA controls basketball, just like Major League Baseball controls baseball, Steelheads chief operating officer Jewell Harris Jr. said.
Were in the CBA, and we respect that. We would still go forward with another CBA season unless something else worked out. Were actively exploring our options. We want to do whats in the best interest of the team and our fans.
Harris Jr. says he has had ongoing, if preliminary, discussions with the D-League specifically league president Phil Evans, who was the CBAs deputy commissioner when the Steelheads first joined the league about the Steelheads potentially making the jump. He expects to know more about their prospects next month.
It puts us in a good position, Steelheads owner Jewell Harris Sr. said. We have multiple choices, which is always good.
It depends what can be negotiated as it relates to each given league. We like the CBA, were comfortable with it. Were also comfortable with the NBDL.
Harris Jr. said the four defecting CBA teams combined to write a glowing recommendation to the D-League for the Steelheads.
But D-League senior director of communications Kent Partridge said via e-mail there are currently no plans for Gary for next season, and we are not ready to begin talking about (2007-0
at this point. Evans said via e-mail he received a phone call from Harris Jr. expressing interest, and they agreed to speak again in a few months once we were ready to start thinking about 2007-08.
Later on in the article, Jewell Jr. states that the fans would not notice a difference in the quality of play since the CBA and D-League are basically the same.
WRONG! I've watched games from both leagues. More veteran players in the CBA translates into more enjoyable basketball. I'm not sure I would pay money to see the D-League play (in its current form).