Cleveland Cavaliers, City of Canton and NBA Development League Announce Cavaliers' New NBA D-League Team is Coming to Canton

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CANTON, OHIO - July 7, 2011 - The Cleveland Cavaliers will own and operate their new NBA Development League franchise in Canton, Ohio. The announcement was made today by NBA Development League President Dan Reed, Cavaliers/Quicken Loans Arena President Len Komoroski, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant and Canton Mayor William J. Healy II. The Cavaliers acquired the former New Mexico Thunderbirds franchise, which has ceased operations, and will now become the 5th NBA team to currently own and operate their own NBA D-League affiliate, joining Golden State, the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City and San Antonio. As owner/operators, the Cavaliers will have exclusive control over all basketball and business elements for the franchise.

“Having the ability to own and operate a D-League franchise in Canton once again illustrates our ownership's outstanding commitment to creating a culture of success,” said Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant. “Player development is at the core of our process and being able to operate our own franchise so close to home will place us in the most strategic position to take an active part in the player development process.”

Entering its 11th season, the NBA Development League is the NBA’s official minor league. Canton becomes the 16th team in the league and will begin play in the upcoming 2011-12 season at the Canton Memorial Civic Center.

"We are thrilled to be the home of minor league basketball for the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is an incredible opportunity for the citizens of Canton to experience professional basketball in their hometown, and I am grateful that the Cavaliers recognized Canton as an ideal market for their next generation of basketball operations,” said Mayor Healy. “Thanks to the hard work of the Cavaliers, the NBADL, SMG, and the City of Canton, I believe that the Cavaliers have secured a fan base that is hungry to support minor league basketball for years to come."

Last season, the Erie BayHawks were the Cavaliers’ D-League affiliate and that affiliation was shared with the Toronto Raptors. The New Mexico Thunderbirds served as the affiliate for the New Orleans Hornets and Orlando Magic.

“We’re very excited to welcome the Cleveland Cavaliers to a rapidly-expanding group of NBA teams realizing the advantages of an exclusive relationship with their NBA D-League affiliate,” said NBA D-League President Dan Reed. “The combination of supportive city leadership and an outstanding organization in the Cavs leads us to believe the future of the team in Canton is very bright.”

Leading the new Canton team’s local business operations as senior vice president and chief operating officer will be Scott Woodruff. Woodruff is a veteran of the Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena organization and spent the past two seasons with the American Hockey League’s Lake Erie Monsters as the vice president of ticket and corporate sales. The Monsters are part of the Dan Gilbert family of sports and entertainment interests. Business offices for the franchise will also be located in the Canton Memorial Civic Center.

“We are very excited and looking forward to a great partnership with the City of Canton, fans and the surrounding community,” said Cavaliers President Len Komoroski. “We have a strong connection with the Canton regional market and we are excited to further engage our fans with a first-class basketball and entertainment experience. We will be active in the community and will work hard to earn support from our fans here.”

The Cavaliers are inviting fans to submit their team name suggestions starting immediately at www.CantonNBA.com. Fans can also follow the new Canton franchise, @CantonNBA, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CantonNBA and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CantonNBA. The team is also hiring immediately for select sales and marketing positions and applicants can apply on-line at www.CantonNBA.com. Additional announcements regarding the team’s basketball staff will be made in the near future.

Full season tickets are on sale and start as low as $120 per ticket. Deposits of $50 for full season tickets are also now being accepted, which will provide seating location priority. Each fan will receive a free Canton D-League T-shirt with their deposit. Single-game tickets will go on sale closer to the start of the season on a date to be announced. For more ticket information, fans can call 1-866-444-1944 or visit www.CantonNBA.com.

The NBA Development League, founded in 2001, is the NBA’s official minor league. Featuring 16 teams with direct affiliations to NBA franchises, the NBA D-League is a proven developer of talent: 23 percent of players in the NBA at the conclusion of the 2010-11 season boasted NBA D-League experience, and the league continues to develop coaches, referees, and front-office staff for the NBA and its teams. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. The NBA D-League also advances the game of basketball as the research and development arm of the NBA. Throughout the league’s 10th season, fans could watch all NBA D-League games on NBA FUTURECAST, the free live Web-streaming initiative found at www.nba.com/futurecast.