Spurs Purchase Austin Toros of NBA Developmental League
he National Basketball Association announced today that the 2006-07 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs have signed an agreement to purchase the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League (“D-League”) from Southwest Basketball, LLC.
"The Spurs are one of the most respected and well-run organizations in sports,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “When the four-time champions understand the benefits of investing in the D-League, it’s a great referendum on our minor league's ability to develop players, coaches and front office staff for NBA teams.”
As owners of the Austin D-League franchise, the Spurs will oversee all aspects of the organization, including the offensive and defensive systems the Toros run in practices and games, the hiring of staff – including coaches – and ticket and sponsorship sales. San Antonio will also have exclusive rights to assign its players with one or two years of NBA experience to the Toros. Austin is coached by former University of Missouri coach Quin Snyder.
“The San Antonio Spurs organization is thrilled to add the Austin Toros to our family,” said Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford. “The D-League has a proven track record of developing talent both on and off the court. By owning our own team, we are now in a great position to develop our young players within our system and with our input. It’s a terrific opportunity for us and we can’t wait to get started.”
The Spurs are the second NBA team to own and operate their own D-League affiliate, joining the Los Angeles Lakers who own the Los Angeles D-fenders. During the 2006-07 season, the Lakers hired their own coaching staff to teach the “Triangle Offense” to the D-fender players and most notably used the assignment system to enable guard Jordan Farmar to become the first player to participate in an NBA game and D-League game in the same day.
"The D-League is a great source of talent and a terrific forum for young players and coaches to develop their skills," said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak. "Our ownership of the D-Fenders has been a great opportunity for the Lakers organization and we are looking forward to continuing to develop our relationship with the D-League in the future."
Since the NBA began the assignment system with the D-League prior to the 2005-06 season, NBA teams have assigned 53 players a total of 77 times, including 30 selections from the 2005 and 2006 NBA Drafts. Last season, a total of 47 former NBA draft picks played in the D-League. Lottery selections such as Portland’s Martell Webster (6th pick overall in 2005), Golden State’s Patrick O’Bryant (9th pick, 2006) and Seattle’s Mouhamed Sene (10th pick, 2006) were assigned to their respective team’s D-League affiliate.
Entering its seventh season, the D-League – the NBA’s minor league established to develop talent across all disciplines for the NBA – will be relocating its headquarters from Greenville, S.C. to New York City to help foster the D-League's continued growth by giving it direct access to the support and resources of the NBA and WNBA. During the 2006-07 season, 19 NBA teams assigned 24 players to D-League rosters, and 14 NBA teams called-up 16 players (‘Gatorade Call-ups’) while 31 D-League alumni participated in the NBA Playoffs. Additionally, every referee hired by the NBA since 2002 has worked in the D-League, while coaches, athletic trainers and front office executives are also being developed.
Designed to help grow the sport of basketball both domestically and internationally, the D-League offers NBA-quality basketball and fun, family entertainment at affordable prices. For additional information on the NBA Development League, visit NBADLEAGUE.com.