The NBA's D-League isn't a true minor league, for a variety of reasons. Teams share D-league franchises because there isn't one owned by every NBA team, and players can be called up by any team in the NBA if they're on a D-League deal.
But more and more NBA franchises are realizing the importance of having a one-to-one relationship with a D-League team, because they can run their same systems there and dictate playing time if everyone is on the same payroll.
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The Chicago Bulls became the latest club to purchase their own affiliate, the league announced on Wednesday via official release.
The NBA Development League and the Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has been granted the right to own and operate an NBA D-League club that will begin play in the 2016-17 season. The new team, which will play its home games at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill., will be the NBA D-League’s record 22nd franchise, while the Bulls become the 13th NBA team to fully own and operate its NBA D-League affiliate. BMO Harris Bank will serve as the presenting partner of the new NBA D-League team.
“It’s an exciting time for the NBA D-League as we announce the league’s record 22nd team,” said Malcolm Turner, NBA D-League President. “The NBA D-League is experiencing an exciting period of tremendous growth as we answer the growing development needs of NBA teams. I couldn’t be prouder to welcome the Bulls into the NBA D-League family of owners and look forward to sitting alongside the great basketball fans in Illinois to watch this new team compete at the Sears Centre Arena next season.”
“Establishing an expansion NBA Development League franchise is a significant step forward for the organization,” said Michael Reinsdorf, President and COO of the Chicago Bulls. “We continuously look for opportunities to promote the game of basketball, extend the reach of the Bulls brand and deepen our integration with our surrounding communities. There are so many great Chicago Bulls fans in the area, and we look forward to engaging in new ways with families, schools, nonprofit organizations and businesses in the Northwest Suburbs.”
Sears Centre Arena, which opened in 2006, is located approximately 35 miles northwest of downtown Chicago and will host the team’s 24 home games between November and April. The NBA D-League team’s business and basketball staffs will be housed at the arena.