Posts Tagged ‘Rio Grande Valley Vipers’

Nets invading Springfield…sorta

The New Jersey Nets are dipping their toes and more into the NBA Development League by agreeing to take over the basketball operations of the Springfield Amor next season.

The Nets are the second team to broker such an arrangement while entering into a single-affiliation setup with Springfield. The Houston Rockets pioneered the “hybrid” model to great success with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the defending D-League champs.

The NBA team in the hybrid model assumes control and is responsible for all expenses involved in all basketball decisions, including the hiring of a coaching staff and management team, and building the roster. Local ownership maintains responsibility for off-the-court business operations. The setup is similar to a Major League baseball team and its minor league affiliates.

Billionaire Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov wants his Nets to be the league’s first global team. The partnership with Springfield helps build the operation at home, as the Prokhorov crew gets another basketball team to work with and gain experience from.

Starting next season, the Nets will be able to assign their players to Springfield to play under their hand-picked coaches in their system.

“We feel that the ‘hybrid’ arrangement will allow our basketball team to maximize its affiliation with the NBA D-League and allow Springfield to serve as a fertile training ground for our players, coaches and front office personnel, only strengthening our basketball product,” Nets general manager Billy King said.

The Armor’s current affiliations for this season are with the Nets, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers.

Lieberman & Legends tip off D-League

Groundbreaking coach Nancy Lieberman and her Texas Legends tip off coverage of the NBA Development League’s 10th season Nov. 18 on VERSUS. The Legends, co-owned by Dallas Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson, are facing the defending D-League champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

Lieberman, a Hall of Famer, is making her debut as the first female coach of a men’s professional team on national TV. VERSUS, in its second year with the D-League, will broadcast 11 regular-season games, six playoff games and the 2011 D-League Finals.

The network is also airing one live game from the annual D-League Showcase, in addition to the new slam-dunk and 3-point contests. The Showcase is taking place Jan. 10-13 in South Padre Island, Texas.

VERSUS is going all out this season. Look for micing players and coaches during both games and in-game interviews; coverage of pregame, halftime, and postgame speeches from the locker room; and more camera angles on the court.

There should be plenty of stories to tell. NBA rosters on opening night featured a record-tying 63 players with D-League experience. Some of those D-League vets include Shannon Brown (L.A. Lakers), Aaron Brooks (Houston Rockets), Will Bynum (Detroit Pistons), JJ Barea (Dallas Mavericks), Marcin Gortat (Orlando Magic), and Reggie Williams (Golden State Warriors).

Here’s the D-League broadcast schedule on VERSUS.