SBD/May 7, 2014/Franchises

Grizzlies Reach Affiliation Deal With D-League Iowa Energy, Will Keep Team In Des Moines

Iowa Energy had affiliation agreements with five NBA franchises last season
The NBA D-League Iowa Energy have "reached an affiliation agreement" with the Grizzlies, finalizing a deal that ensures the team "will remain in Des Moines," according to Bryce Miller of the DES MOINES REGISTER. Energy Founder and former Managing Owner Jerry Crawford on Monday said that the team "weighed four offers." Three of those options -- including an "unnamed opportunity in another country -- required leaving Iowa." Grizzlies minority Owner and new Energy Managing Owner Jed Kaplan, who was in charge of crafting the arrangement, said that relocating the franchise "never was considered by the Memphis group." Crawford and Dr. Bill Jacobson will "remain owner-shareholders of the team, but Kaplan and the Grizzlies are offering six new local shares in an effort to broaden the scope of the organization's community reach." Kaplan plans to "hold the Grizzlies' preseason training camp in Des Moines," meaning the team "could practice and scrimmage at Wells Fargo Arena." Miller notes the deal -- which Crawford "described as a 'merger' because some other Memphis owners will buy into the team as well -- is categorized by the league as a hybrid, meaning Memphis will take over paying players and operating the team on all levels." The Energy last season "had affiliation agreements with five NBA franchises." Crawford and a Polk County official "confirmed that the operational shuffle will not impact the current lease agreement between the team and county." The team will "enter into the second year of a five-year deal next season." Crawford, who will assume the title of Chair Emeritus, said that the franchise is "profitable and initial backers who purchased shares at $250,000 each have been able to double those investments" (DES MOINES REGISTER, 5/7). In Memphis, Ronald Tillery notes to "further align the teams, the Energy has adopted" the Grizzlies' Beal Street Blue and Gold color scheme and has "revamped their logo to visually represent the partnership" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 5/7).

WOLVES NEED NEW DEN: In Minneapolis, Kent Youngblood noted with the Energy's new agreement, the T'Wolves will "have to find another NBA Development League option for its young players." They had shared the D-League team with the Bulls, Nuggets, Wizards and Pelicans. The options for the T'Wolves now "are another affiliation agreement" or the team could "secure a hybrid agreement." In the second scenario, the T'Wolves "would run the basketball side of an operation while allowing the team owners to run the business side" (STARTRIBUNE.com, 5/6).
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