The Wizards are in need of a new NBA Development League affiliate after the Golden State Warriors purchased the Dakota Wizards on Tuesday. The Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies both were allowed to send rookies and second-year players from their rosters to the D-League team in Bismarck, N.D., but that will no longer be the case after the Warriors became the eighth NBA team to have what is called a “one-to-one” affiliate in the NBA’s minor league system.
“We’ll be in touch with the league office and find out who they assign us to,” Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said on Tuesday after after the team introduced draft picks Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack in a news conference. “We’re not sure just yet. Most likely Iowa, but we’re not sure yet.”
The NBA D-League will announce new affiliates at a later date. The league just 17 teams, with nine of them -- the Iowa Energy, Fort Wayne Ants, Maine Red Claws, Sioux Falls Skyforce, Idaho Stampede, New Mexico City Thunderbirds, Reno Bighorns, Bakersfield Jam, Utah Flash -- now expected to be split among 22 NBA teams.
The Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers (Los Angeles D-Fenders), Oklahoma City Thunder (Tulsa 66ers) and San Antonio Spurs (Austin Toros) fully own and operate their teams. The Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers), New Jersey Nets (Springfield Armor) and New York Knicks (Erie BayHawks) control the basketball operations for their teams and the Dallas Mavericks are solely affiliated with the Texas Legends. “They have individual owners who owned the team,” Grunfeld said. “They were looking to sell or get an investor and Golden State stepped in and wanted an affiliation with them.”
D-League teams will compete next season even if the NBA locks out its players, as expected, on Friday.
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis has spoken about utilizing the D-League as a tool to develop young or inexperienced talent. The Wizards twice sending rookie center Hamady Ndiaye to Bismarck to get some playing time with the Dakota Wizards. They had been affiliated with the Dakota Wizards since the 2006-07 season after previously working with the now-defunct Roanoke Dazzle, which hosted both Andray Blatche and Peter John Ramos.