AT&T Center Welcomes The Austin Spurs

By: Lorne Chan Spurs.com

Danny Green and Jonathon Simmons have made it from the D-League to the AT&T Center.

For one night in December, the rest of the Austin Spurs will be there, too.

Austin, the Spurs’ NBA Development League affiliate, announced Tuesday that it will play a game at the newly renovated AT&T Center at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29. It’s the first time the Austin Spurs are playing a game in San Antonio.

They’ll face the defending NBA D-League Champion Santa Cruz Warriors in a game presented by SWBC.

Tickets for the game are on sale at ticketmaster.com, with lower level seats starting at $10.

 “It’s another great step,” said Austin Spurs general manager Brian Pauga. “There are a lot of players in San Antonio with D-League experience, and fans have noticed the role of Austin in the Spurs organization. Now, they’ll get a first look at potential future Spurs in the AT&T Center.”

After joining the Austin Spurs through an open tryout in 2013, Simmons spent two seasons improving in the D-League before he signed an NBA contract with the Spurs over the summer.

Three other players from last year’s Austin Spurs roster received NBA Call-Ups. Bryce Cotton signed with the Utah Jazz, JaMychal Green had a stint in San Antonio before signing with Memphis and Jarell Eddie had a call-up with Atlanta.

The call-ups extend far beyond the players as well. Assistant coaches Earl Watson and Jason Fraser joined the Phoenix Suns staff over the offseason.

Even San Antonio Spurs PA announcer Jonathan Sanford and several Spurs Silver Dancers got their starts in Austin.

The December field trip also extends to Austin Spurs season ticket members. Spurs Sports & Entertainment is chartering buses from the Austin Spurs’ home, the Cedar Park Center, to the AT&T Center so Austin fans can attend the game.

 “First and foremost it’s a great opportunity for our Austin Spurs players, coaches, front office and Season Ticket Members,” said Tim Salier, SS&E Vice President of Franchise Business Operations. “It’s also a great opportunity for our fan bases in both Austin and San Antonio to share in the continued growth of the Austin Spurs and to continue to build the story of how the Spurs utilize the D-League.”

The Spurs became the second NBA team to own a D-League franchise when they bought the Austin Spurs (then the Toros) in 2007. The Spurs immediately began molding Austin’s philosophy on and off the court after themselves.

Offensive sets in Austin began matching those at the AT&T Center, and Spurs players began shuttling back and forth on Interstate-35 to gain experience and playing time in the D-League. Kyle Anderson split time between Austin and San Antonio last season and former Spurs Cory Joseph and Aron Baynes had multiple stints in Austin early in their careers.

The majority of NBA teams have now followed the D-League blueprint. Eight years after the Lakers and Spurs were the only teams that owned D-League franchises, 19 NBA teams now own or have partnerships with individual D-League teams.

Last season, the Austin Spurs had a 32-18 record and reached the Western Conference Finals, where they lost to a Warriors team led by Steph Curry’s younger brother Seth.

 “To show our product in the AT&T Center is huge for us,” Austin Spurs coach Ken McDonald said. “It’s a really exciting time for the D-League, and I think it’s awesome for our fans to really get to see our Austin Spurs model. They’ll catch a few young guys who can potentially become San Antonio Spurs one day.”

lchan@attcenter.com

Twitter: @lornechan

RELEASE: AUSTIN SPURS TO PLAY AT AT&T CENTER DECEMBER 29

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