It's official: the L.A. Clippers have become the latest NBA franchise to own and operate an NBA Developmental League team.
The Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario will be based out of Ontario, Calif. and play their home games at Citizens Business Bank Arena, roughly 40 miles east of Los Angeles. They are set to begin play next season as they become the 26th member of the NBA's D-League.
Below is the team's press release, via NBA.com:
The L.A. Clippers and the NBA Development League today announced that the Clippers have acquired the right to own and operate an NBA D-League team that will begin play in Ontario, Calif. for the 2017-18 season when the league will be called the NBA Gatorade League. The team’s name will be the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario.
The team is named for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, a federally recognized Tribe located in Palm Springs, Calif. The Tribe owns and operates the Agua Caliente Casino Resorts, which includes the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage and Spa Resort Casino in downtown Palm Springs. Agua Caliente Resorts is the Clippers’ Presenting Sponsor as well as the team’s Official Tribal Casino partner.
With 31,500 acres of reservation lands that spread across Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage and into the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains, the Tribe also owns Tahquitz and Indian Canyons recreational areas, and two 18-hole championship golf courses.
With today’s announcement, the NBA D-League grows to a record 26 teams for the 2017-18 season, all of which are owned or operated by an NBA club.
“This is another exciting day for the NBA D-League as we add a record 26th team and continue to move closer to our 30-team vision,” said NBA D-League President Malcolm Turner. “Today’s announcement is the latest example of the value NBA teams place on developing young talent on and off the court. I’m thrilled to welcome Steve Ballmer and the Clippers, in partnership with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, to the NBA D-League family.”
The Clippers’ new D-League affiliate will play its 24 home games at Ontario’s Citizens Business Bank Arena, which is located 40 miles west of Los Angeles. Opened in 2008, Citizens Business Bank Arena is the largest arena in the Inland Empire and is also home to the Ontario Reign AHL ice hockey, concerts and family events.
“This is a great day for the Clippers,” said Clippers President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Doc Rivers. “Having our own development team in the Inland Empire is another example of the dedication and investment to winning and creating a first-class organization that Steve Ballmer brings to this franchise. We now have a place close to home where our young players and staff members have the ability to develop and gain important experience.”
The NBA D-League recently completed a landmark season, establishing records for unique NBA players assigned with 92 and players on end-of-regular-season NBA rosters having NBA D-League experience with 199 (44% of NBA players).
“We are proud to team-up with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians to bring highly competitive professional basketball to the Inland Empire,” said Clippers President of Business Operations Gillian Zucker. “This region has already demonstrated enormous passion for the Clippers. Locating our team in Ontario allows us to reward that enthusiasm and continue to build a deep connection with these fans by offering affordable, family fun right in their backyard.”
“We’re very excited about this partnership with the Clippers in the formation of a new basketball team,” Tribal Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe said. “Having a sports team named after our people is a great honor that recognizes the relevance of our history and culture as well as our existence today. Naming a team after a Tribe is a first for the NBA and the D-League.”