The NBA D-League and the Hornets Sports and Entertainment Group have announced that the Charlotte Hornets have acquired the rights to own and operate a D-League affiliate franchise. The new team will be located in Greensboro, North Carolina, 90 miles northeast of Charlotte, and will play their 24 home games at the Pavilion at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex. It will be renovated into a professional style basketball court by the beginning of the 2016-17 season. The Hornets join 10 other NBA franchises in owning and operating a NBA D-League team.
Michael Jordan, Chairman of Hornets Sports and Entertainment, seemed elated about finally having a D-League affiliated team, stating that “by operating our own club, it will be a seamless transition for our players, coaches, and front office when we assign a player, because the NBA D-League team will follow the same principles and run the same sets as the Hornets. Placing the team in Greensboro also allows us to expand the Hornets brand to another city in our region that has a great basketball tradition.”
This move makes sense, considering that four members of their roster spent extensive time in the D-League: Troy Daniels, P.J. Hairston, Jeremy Lamb, and Jeremy Lin. Also, the Hornets assigned two players to another D-League team last season, and have signed 12 players from the D-League since the 2004-05 season.
Within 15 seasons, the NBA D-League has become the official minor league to the NBA, and it continues to grow and still be incredibly effective in developing talent. Last season saw a record-breaking 63 call-ups of 47 NBA D-League players to the NBA. From the last five NBA Draft classes, over 40 percent of them started their careers in the D-League, including 15 first round picks.
By Joshua Hamer