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RED CLAWS FANS CELEBRATE NBA AFFILIATION

AGREEMENTS WITH BOBCATS, CELTICS

Team Holds Public Celebration in Monument Square

 

PORTLAND, MAINE (June 29, 2009) – Maine Red Claws fans took to Monument Square in Portland to celebrate the long-awaited announcement that the Charlotte Bobcats and the hometown favorite Boston Celtics would be supplying players to the NBA D-League’s newest team. Joined by 30 kids from area Boys and Girls Clubs, the Red Claws handed out balloons to the lunchtime crowd and unveiled Celtics and Bobcats banners. Cheered on by the Maine Red Claws Dance Team, onlookers were given the opportunity to win Red Claws merchandise while trying their hand at the team’s basketball hoop. Guests at the event included Portland Mayor Jill Duson, who welcomed the crowd, and the voice of the Maine Red Claws Chris Sedenka from WJAB 96.3, the Red Claws flagship station. The Maine Red Claws are presented by Quirk Chevrolet.

“This may be one of the most highly anticipated sports announcements of the summer and one of the most exciting days this organization has had to date – and there have been many,” Red Claws President and General Manager Jon Jennings said. “This agreement ties us to a legendary NBA franchise, a 17-time world champion, and to a young, aggressive franchise on the rise that is led by two Hall of Famers. We fully intend to present Maine basketball fans with the best the NBA D-League has to offer, on the court and off. This partnership will help us do that, and we are proud to team up with the Charlotte Bobcats and Boston Celtics as we enter our inaugural season.”

Before making his way to Monument Square for the celebration and logo unveilings, Jennings joined Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge on a conference call with area media to discuss the new partnership.

Listen to Danny Ainge talk
about the new affiliation agreement
“We are excited to announce our affiliation with the Maine Red Claws,” said Ainge. “Although our recent partnership with the Utah Flash was an extremely positive experience in every respect, having our Development League affiliate just a short drive away from Boston will be an invaluable tool in the progression of our players as they strive to perfect their game and contribute at the NBA level.”

“The NBA D-league has been fantastic for us. It has given us opportunities to develop players such as Gabe Pruitt, Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens over the last couple of years,” Ainge continued. “We are thrilled in Maine to have a partner that has Celtics’ ties in the past and knows the NBA and knows our needs. We are very excited to partner up with the Red Claws.”

While the Boston Celtics affiliation did not come as a big surprise to the crowd, the announcement of the Red Claws’ second affiliate, the Charlotte Bobcats, did. A young team with a number of eligible players who could be assigned to Maine, the Bobcats set the Red Claws up to be a tough team in their inaugural season.

“Having utilized the NBA’s Development League over the past several seasons both in terms of sending our own players down and signing other players, we understand the importance of the league,” said Bobcats General Manager Rod Higgins. “We look forward to continuing that relationship through our new affiliation with the Maine Red Claws.”

“We are excited to be affiliated with the Maine Red Claws,” added Bobcats Head Coach Larry Brown. “There is no better place than the D-League to send our prospects. I’ve known Jon Jennings for quite some time, and I wish him and the Red Claws the best of luck next season.”

The NBA affiliation system allows NBA teams to assign players in their first and second year to their NBA D-League affiliate. In the 2009 NBA Draft, which took place on June 25, Charlotte selected Gerald Henderson, a junior out of Duke, with the 12th selection in the first round and also picked up Derrick Brown, a junior out of Xavier, with the 40th overall pick. The Celtics had just one pick in the 2009 Draft, taking Lester Hudson, a senior combo guard out of Tennessee Martin, with the 58th overall selection.