Print This Story By JOHN LOMBARDO
Published November 26, 2007 : Page 04
The NBA Development League is expected to announce another round of expansion within weeks as it moves closer to its goal of becoming a 30-team league with single affiliations for each NBA club.
D-League President Dan Reed would not disclose the new markets, but sources said the Cleveland Cavaliers are very interested in operating a D-League franchise. If a deal is completed, the Cavaliers would become the third NBA team to own or operate a D-League franchise. The Los Angeles Lakers own the Los Angeles D-Fenders, while the San Antonio Spurs own the Austin Toros. In the past year, the D-League added teams in Orem, Utah; Des Moines, Iowa; Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Hidalgo, Texas.
There are still a few things in play, but we will be announcing some new teams in a few weeks, Reed said. Being geographically close to NBA teams is a positive.
Cavaliers officials would only say that they are evaluating the D-League. One possibility for the Cavs is to partner with a local owner and control the basketball operations of the minor league team, which could play in a city outside of Cleveland.
We think the D-League has taken a number of steps recently to position the league for future success, both from a basketball perspective and a business perspective, said Cavaliers President Len Komoroski. We are still in the process of learning more about that and how that might translate to our own future.
The Cavaliers, owned by Dan Gilbert, would add to their operation that now includes the Cavs, the minor league hockey Lake Erie Monsters and the electronic ticket company Flash Seats. In addition, the AFLs Las Vegas Gladiators have relocated to Cleveland and will play at the Quicken Loans Arena run by the Cavs.
The D-League has 14 teams that began play Friday. The league is expected to look at putting teams in the Northeast.
Well look at having three or four teams within reasonable travel distance [in the Northeast], Reed said. It could happen real quick or it may be a situation where we have to wait in the next year, but we are not in a rush to double the size of the league in a year.
Driving the leagues expansion efforts is the increase in franchise values that Reed said have quadrupled since the league began selling teams to local owners beginning in 2005. Reed would not disclose the current franchise values, but said teams are now selling for seven figures.
One of the most attractive aspects is that the franchise values are reasonable and [potential] owners see good opportunity, Reed said. There are now a number of NBA teams that are interested.
The Spurs are 100 miles away from me and ten times more expensive when tickets are available.Why go to the minor league team when you can go to the real team....
New arena makes sense for them, if they aren't looking to soak a team with rent bills.[/quote]
And we have a winner, this is about 2 years old now, the Cav's are putting a D-League team in Youngstown. Toledo, Ohio is also getting a team, but it will be independently owned.
Stern probably isn't completely sold yet, or else there would already be a 30-30 relationship.
Rest of the world: youth programs lead to the RESERVE team (in this case the D-League team), then the main team. Eventually, college ball is bypassed (which is the case for a lot of kids anyway, even if they're spending a year in school). This way, the organization is actually IN the community where they're trying to sell tickets instead of drafting mercenaries from other towns (or getting really lucky in the lottery to draft homeboy LeBron), perhaps improving relations with said community, which hopefully offsets the current problems some identify with communities feeling detached from players (and or vice versa).
At least that's the concept... and Stern isn't completely sold on it yet, or else a phased plan would already be in place. This is the Cavs doing.
I say that some good possibilities are Flagstaff, AZ; St. George, UT; Prescott, AZ; Tuscon, AZ; Las Vegas, NV; Cheyenne, WY; Spokane, WA; Great Falls, MT (if the CBA team there doesn't work out); Omaha, NE; Knoxville, TN; Corpus Christi, TX; Vancouver, BC; San Diego, CA; Rochester, NY; Buffalo, NY; Albany, NY; and Charlestown, SC.
I say that some good possibilities are Flagstaff, AZ; St. George, UT; Prescott, AZ; Tuscon, AZ; Las Vegas, NV; Cheyenne, WY; Spokane, WA; Great Falls, MT (if the CBA team there doesn't work out); Omaha, NE; Knoxville, TN; Corpus Christi, TX; Vancouver, BC; San Diego, CA; Rochester, NY; Buffalo, NY; Albany, NY; and Charlestown, SC.[/quote]
St. George I heard is a possiblility
Las Vegas I would like to see one there that arena is about the right size
Cheyenne wouldn't work because there is no decent size arena other then the AA and I doubt they would want to play there Casper would work a lot better.
Omaha I am thinking will happen this year, I like Buffalo (possible Toronto affiliate) Vancouver would work but you would need Yakima and possibly Tri-City to get some travel partners. San Diego I don't know about.......