From Bob Finnan of The News-Herald yesterday:
"The Cavs joined a growing trend in the NBA and purchased their own yet-to-be-named NBA Development League team. They purchased the New Mexico Thunderbirds and moved the team's operations to Canton. They are one of five NBA teams that will have exclusive control over all basketball and business elements of their own D-League team. The others that own their own teams are Golden State, the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City and San Antonio."
I know there's people who would say that Gilbert doesn't actually care about this area, and all he's trying to do through moves like this is improve the bottom line on Nicky G's college fund. And maybe that's true, I have no way to say with certainty one way or another. It is simply my choice, however, to appreciate the fact he's investing as much money as he is in a region that's been desperate for guys like him to do so over much of the last decade. He'll create more jobs this way than he would by just saving his cash and swimming around in mountains of gold coins like that duck cartoon back in the day. Because just as he's well within his rights to spend his money - anywhere he wants - there's also no reason why he can't sit on it too.
But beyond this move being something good for Northeast Ohio business, it's also good basketball business as well. If I had some cash at my disposal, or knew some people who did, I think I'd try to buy a D-League team in anticipation of being bought out by one of the remaining NBA teams who do not yet own a minor league affiliate. This seems like a no-brainer, and presents all sorts of opportunities to improve the basketball aspects of the operation for sure. I gotta think this move the Cavs made yesterday will be something that every team does at some point, for all the reasons Chris Grant referenced yesterday.
Chris Grant on the move:
"It gives us an opportunity to run the same system, have the same defensive principals, have the same vocabulary and use the same kind of culture," he said. "From a proximity standpoint, this is fantastic. A player could practice with us in the morning and play that night (in the D-League). It doesn't disrupt what's going on."
In some ways this sure seems like owning your own D-League team increases the roster number from 15 to 30. It's like a JV team to a degree; a guy's playing good, send him up. Somebody's stinking it up, or coming off an injury, send him down and give him a chance to play his way back into it. Makes all kind of sense to me, especially since both teams are right down the street from each other, and I look forward to following this team just as soon as they come up with a name. Great stuff all around, Cavs, well done.
Image and Photo via NBA.com