May 4, 2015 – Hornets Sports & Entertainment announced today that the organization intends to launch its own NBA D-League team with the hope of beginning play for the 2016-17 season. The franchise today is sending an RFP to seven cities throughout the Carolinas seeking the best home for the D-League club, which would be owned and operated by HSE. Cities receiving the RFP include Asheville, Fayetteville, Greensboro and Raleigh, North Carolina, as well as Charleston, Columbia and Greenville, South Carolina.
“This is a very exciting time for us,” said Hornets Sports & Entertainment President & COO Fred Whitfield. “The decision to take steps toward launching our own D-League club is yet another example of our owner’s long-term commitment to our franchise and continues to show his willingness to invest in the resources needed to improve our basketball team. A D-League team would also allow us to continue to expand the Hornets brand regionally by having a presence in an additional market.”
Under the current D-League structure, 17 of the 18 teams have single-affiliate relationships with an NBA team. Eight are fully owned and operated by their NBA parent team. An additional eight are operated under a “hybrid” affiliation, in which the NBA team funds and manages the basketball operations while local ownership maintains control of the business aspects. The Dallas Mavericks and Texas Legends have a one-to-one relationship by way of Mavericks General Manager Donnie Nelson’s ownership of the Legends. The Hornets are currently one of 13 NBA teams affiliated with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the lone independent D-League team.
“Having our own D-League team would provide us with the best opportunity to develop our young players, which is paramount in today’s NBA,” said Hornets General Manager Rich Cho. “This move would allow us to dictate how the team is run, including using the same offensive and defensive sets, play calls and philosophies as the Hornets do. It would also provide for a seamless and easy transition when moving players between our team and the D-League affiliate.”
Hornets Sports & Entertainment owns the Charlotte Hornets and operates Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena. The Charlotte Hornets are a member of the NBA’s Southeast Division. Owned by NBA Legend Michael Jordan, the Hornets organization strives to deliver a relentless attack on the court, an unmatched experience in the stands and a positive impact throughout the community. The name of the city’s original NBA team from 1988-2002, the Hornets moniker returned to Charlotte in May 2014, uniting the rich history of NBA basketball in the Carolinas. Time Warner Cable Arena is the premier destination for sports and entertainment in the Carolinas, hosting over 150 sporting events, concerts and family shows annually. For more information, please visit hornets.com or timewarnercablearena.com.