Phoenix Suns Purchase Bakersfield Jam
BAKERSFIELD, CA - The Bakersfield Jam today announced that the franchise has been acquired by the Phoenix Suns, the club's NBA affiliate. The Suns will relocate the team to Prescott Valley, Arizona and will begin with a name change to Northern Arizona Suns, and will play in the Prescott Valley Event Center in the upcoming 2016-17 season.
Stan Ellis and David Higdon are currently working with the NBA and NBA D-League to bring a new D-League expansion franchise to Bakersfield for the 2016-17 season. Several NBA teams have expressed their interest in having a team in place next season to play at the Dignity Health Event Center. "Bakersfield has been an excellent NBA D-League market and owners Stan Ellis and David Higdon have been great partners over the last 10 seasons," said Malcolm Turner, NBA D-League President. "We will continue to assist Stan and David as they look to bring another NBA D-League team to the Dignity Health Event Center."
"I want to personally thank all of our Jam partners and employees that we have worked with these past 10 seasons," said Stan Ellis. "It's because of their hard work and dedication to our franchise that we have been able to train NBA players and staff here in Bakersfield. David and I have been blessed to make so many wonderful relationships and we are looking forward to continuing those friendships."
Bakersfield and Phoenix entered a single-affiliation partnership in 2014, but have been working together since 2011. In its two-year hybrid partnership, the Suns assigned a total of four players to the Jam (Reggie Bullock, Tyler Ennis, Archie Goodwin and T.J. Warren) and called-up two Bakersfield players (Earl Barron and Jerel McNeal). In addition, former Jam Head Coach Nate Bjorkgren earned a call-up of his own to the Suns, coaching Phoenix's 2015 Summer League team and joining Jeff Hornacek's staff as an Assistant Coach this season.
"The past 10 years have been an amazing experience," said David Higdon. "It has been an honor to work with the Phoenix Suns the past two years in our hybrid partnership. The Suns front office including Lon Babby, Ryan McDonough, Bubba Burrage, and Jim Pitman will be incredible assets to the NBA Development League family."
The 2015-16 marked Bakersfield's 10th season in the NBA Development League. Since the inaugural 2006-07 season, the Jam's milestones include the 2015 NBA D-League Showcase Championship and the 2013 Western Division Championship. Overall, Bakersfield produced 14 Gatorade Call-Ups to the NBA, contributed to the development of 27 NBA players on assignment and have seen another 11 staff members receive Call-Ups to NBA staffs.
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