Heat Put Time, Resources Into Making D-League Affiliate A First-Class Organization
The Heat and the NBA D-League Sioux Falls Skyforce have "forged one of the more unusual and innovative partnerships in professional sports," according to Scott Cacciola of the N.Y. TIMES. The Heat have "allocated significant resources" to the Skyforce in an attempt to "replicate their philosophies on a D-League scale." The Skyforce, a franchise that has "functioned without interruption since 1989, is one of minor league basketball’s most stable organizations." However, this is the "first season that Heat executives are in full control of the Skyforce’s basketball operations." First-year Skyforce coach Pat Delany said that the team's "daily activities were imbued with 'Heat culture.'" Heat President Pat Riley: "It’s seamless. I think it’s becoming a necessity that every team has a minor league franchise that they manage themselves." Cacciola notes while the Skyforce "run the business side of the franchise, managing everything from ticket sales to in-game entertainment, the Heat hire the coaches, cover the travel costs and acquire the talent." No detail "is too small," as the Heat at the start of the season "sent the Skyforce an iPod full of music for morning shoot-arounds so that D-League prospects ... could listen to the same songs as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade." The team also "changed its colors from teal, black and silver to red and black" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/9).