WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The Knicks have been awarded a franchise in the NBA Development League starting with the 2014-15 season, the league and Madison Square Garden Company announced Monday. The team will play in the 4,000-capacity Westchester County Center and practice at the Knicks' facility in nearby Greenburgh.
The Knicks will end their three-year D-League affiliation with the Erie (Pa.) BayHawks.
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"The Knicks are really committed to making this a first- class product," D-League president Dan Reed said. The Knicks became the 18th D-League franchise.
The Knicks ran basketball operations at Erie but now will control every facet of the team. "They've taken the experience [at Erie] and now upgraded in many ways," Reed said.
The new team, which will be named after a web poll by fans, will allow management to keep closer tabs on the players and organization.
"We feel like the proximity allows for a more effective way to evaluate," said Knicks assistant general manager Allan Houston, who will continue in his role as GM of the D-League team. "Whether it's rehab assignments, players moving back and forth, it just gives another layer of support."
Dave Howard, president of MSG Sports, said adding the franchise has been in the planning stage for several months. "From a basketball operations and business operations standpoint, it was something that we have been giving serious consideration to," he said. The NBA streams all of its D-League games, but Howard said MSG Network will have "some degree of interest."
Westchester County executive Rob Astorino, a Republican candidate for governor, said the county could realize up to $300,000 a year in revenue in the five-year agreement, which contains a renewal clause for an additional five years. D-League franchises originally cost a reported $400,000; some now are valued in the millions. Reed would not divulge what the Knicks paid for their franchise.
Although D-League rosters usually contain former college players, the teams also serve as venues for players working their way back from injury. Amar'e Stoudemire worked out at Erie in 2012. Younger players seeing only limited action in the NBA and injured players could wind up in Westchester beginning next season.
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