SBD/July 11, 2013/Franchises

NBA Kings Ink Deal To Run Basketball Operations For D-League Reno Bighorns

The NBA Kings have "signed a two-year deal to take over basketball operations" of the D-League Reno Bighorns, according to Bizjak & Lillis of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Kings Managing Partner Vivek Ranadive said that the deal gives the NBA franchise the "authority to hire the team's coaches and choose team players, using the Reno squad as its minor league affiliate, similar to the relationship between major and minor league baseball teams." Ranadive added that he "initially tried to buy the Bighorns outright, but the owners declined to sell." However, the new arrangement "gives the Kings first right to purchase if the Bighorn owners decide to sell." Bighorns Managing Partner Herb Santos, Jr. "will retain control" over the team's business operations. Ranadive said that the arrangement "helps the Kings connect better to fans in Northern Nevada" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 7/11). Santos said, "This is where the D-League is going. This is going to put a stronger, better team on the floor." In Reno, Chris Gabel notes the deal will be "the eighth 'hybrid' model in the 18-team D-League, while six other franchises are owned outright by an NBA team." Santos purchased the Bighorns from SK Baseball, owners of the Triple-A PCL Reno Aces, two years ago "after he served as a minority owner since the team began play in Reno" in '08. The Bighorns have "served as an affiliate to the Kings since then" (RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL, 7/11).
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