Mexico City Selected For New G League Franchise Starting In '20-21
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's move to place a G League franchise in Mexico City will "allow the NBA to work through international travel and logistics issues while also better familiarizing itself with the Mexican audience and fan base," according to Ben Golliver of the WASHINGTON POST. Silver on Thursday announced that the Capitanes, a team in Mexico's pro basketball league, will be "joining the G League" for the '20-21 season and will become the 29th G League team after "reaching a five-year-agreement with the NBA." The Mexico City-based franchise will "operate independently" and "maintain its current logo and remain unaffiliated with a specific NBA team." The franchise will join the Raptors 905 as the only franchises based outside the U.S. Mexico City has "long been rumored as a possible site for NBA expansion." Silver referred to the Raptors' successful brand building in Canada when he said, "There's an opportunity to create Mexico's team. There's also a very large Mexican American population who would be built-in followers. Having said those wonderful things, we're not in an expansion mode at this time. I have no doubt when the league turns to look at expansion, Mexico City will be on the list." Silver said that the Capitanes "plan to have Mexican players on their roster next year," but he added that the organization also "wants to be competitive and will therefore seek to 'strike the right balance'" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/13).
AFFILIATION NATION: ESPN.com's Eric Gomez noted the addition of the Capitanes "marked the latest move" for the G League. The Erie Bayhawks, the Pelicans' affiliate, "will move" to Birmingham starting in '22. The College Park Skyhawks, the Hawks' affiliate, this year "began their inaugural season" in College Park, Ga., after having played their first two seasons in Erie, Pa. Silver said, "There are only two NBA teams left with no direct G League affiliate. The assumption is Portland and Denver will be adding teams over time" (ESPN.com, 12/12).