Des Moines, IA, May 6, 2014 –– The Iowa Energy, Memphis Grizzlies and the NBA Development League announced today that the Energy has entered into a single-affiliation partnership with the Grizzlies beginning with the 2014-15 season. The Energy becomes the 14th team to have a one-to-one relationship with its NBA affiliate.
Additionally, a group of Grizzlies partners and local Iowa investors have merged to form a new ownership group overseeing the Energy. Grizzlies partner Jed Kaplan will be the new managing partner of the Energy, while former Energy managing partner, Jerry Crawford, will remain as an owner and take on the role of chairman emeritus with the new group. Current Energy owner Dr. Bill Jacobson and his orthopedic group will also remain as Energy partners, while additional opportunities have been reserved for local investors interested in joining the new entity.
“As the managing partner and on behalf of the new ownership group, I am extremely excited to be a part of a premier team in the NBA Development League. It is an honor to be entrusted with the Energy, a team that has built a winning culture and deep fan base,” said Kaplan. “It is a humbling experience to take over a team that has had such exemplary ownership in Jerry Crawford, and I’m grateful for his continued involvement in the team. The synergy created through the hybrid agreement with the Memphis Grizzlies will prove extremely beneficial to both organizations. We look forward to continued success, community involvement and treating the fans to Memphis’ brand of basketball on our way to multiple championships in Des Moines!”
Memphis will be the only NBA team affiliated with the Energy and will have full control over the team’s basketball operations. This partnership, also referred to as the hybrid affiliation, calls for the Grizzlies to pay for and control Iowa’s basketball operations, while the ownership group will maintain primary responsibility for the team’s business operations and community initiatives. To further align the teams, the Energy has adopted the Memphis Beale Street blue and gold color scheme and has revamped its logo to visually represent the partnership with the Grizzlies.
“We are excited at the opportunity for our basketball operations to partner with an NBA Development League team and believe this to be an important milestone for our franchise,” Memphis Grizzlies Owner Robert Pera said. “This affiliation will further strengthen our ability to develop potential NBA talent and staff as we continue to build upon our positive culture and winning foundation here in Memphis.” The Energy, which joined the NBA D-League prior to the 2007-08 season, plays its home games at the Wells Fargo Center in Des Moines, part of the Iowa Events Center. The team captured the 2011 NBA D-League Championship in front of a record 14,036 fans, while helping 10 players make the jump from the Energy to the NBA, including current NBA players Diante Garrett (Utah Jazz), Othyus Jeffers (Minnesota Timberwolves), Cartier Martin (Atlanta Hawks), Anthony Tolliver (Charlotte Bobcats), and Jarvis Varnado (Philadelphia 76ers).
During the 2013-14 season, the Energy was affiliated with five NBA teams—Minnesota Timberwolves, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, Washington Wizards and the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Memphis partnership with Iowa follows the NBA D-League’s 13th and most successful season, where 33 percent of all NBA players at the end of the 2013-14 campaign, including five Grizzlies, boasted NBA D-League experience. A record 62 NBA players were assigned a record 187 times to hone their skills in the NBA D-League, while an additional 36 players earned 49 GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA.
The Grizzlies become the sixth NBA team to enter inter a hybrid affiliation with an NBA D-League team for the 2014-15 season. Seven additional NBA teams will own and operate their NBA D-League affiliates for the 2014-15.