The Memphis Grizzlies, Iowa Energy and the NBA Development League announced today that the Grizzlies have entered into a single-affiliation partnership with the Energy for the 2014-15 season. Additionally, the Energy has been purchased by Grizzlies partner Jed Kaplan and Energy Basketball, LLC, a group including other Memphis minority shareholders and local Iowa investors. The Grizzlies become the 14th team to have a one-to-one relationship with its NBA D-League affiliate for the 2014-15 season.
“The investment by Jed Kaplan and the Memphis Grizzlies in the Iowa Energy is yet another exciting step forward for the NBA D-League,” NBA D-League President Dan Reed said. “Jed has been a great supporter of the league over the years, and I know he and his group of investors will be terrific owners who are committed to supporting both the Des Moines community and the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies continue to demonstrate their commitment to basketball innovation and development with this new partnership, joining an ever-growing number of NBA teams who have obtained a ‘one-to-one’ affiliation with an NBA D-League team.”
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,” will see the Grizzlies pay for and control Iowa’s basketball operations, while local ownership will maintain primary responsibility for the team’s business operations and community initiatives. To further align the teams, the Energy has adopted 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 total 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).
“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,” Kaplan said. “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, and I’d like to personally thank Robert Pera and Jason Levien for their support and guidance. 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’ 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, joining the Boston Celtics (Maine Red Claws), Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids NBA D-League Team), Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers), Miami Heat (Sioux Falls Skyforce) and Sacramento Kings (Reno Bighorns). Seven additional NBA teams will own and operate their NBA D-League affiliates for the 2014-15 season: Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge), Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors), Los Angeles Lakers (L.A. D-Fenders), New York Knicks (Westchester NBA D-League Team), Oklahoma City Thunder (Tulsa 66ers), Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware 87ers) and San Antonio Spurs (Austin Toros). Additionally, the Dallas Mavericks have a single affiliation with the Texas Legends by way of Mavericks’ General Manager Donnie Nelson’s ownership of the Legends.