The new Nassau Coliseum has its first tenant.
A day after executives broke ground to signal the start of the Coliseum renovations, the Nets announced the formation of a D-League franchise that will call the Coliseum home. Dubbed the Long Island Nets, the new team will play at Barclays Center next season before relocating permanently to the Coliseum for the 2017-18 season.
"It's something we have been striving to have, a D-League team," Nets general manager Billy King said Friday night. "As we become a younger team, it will give us a chance to develop our players -- not only players but coaches as well."
King said the D-League team will practice in Brooklyn next season but eventually will practice on Long Island. In their first season, he hopes to have the Long Island Nets playing games on the same days as the Brooklyn Nets, which he believes can help promote them before their first season at the Coliseum.
"Well, they know it's coming," King said. "It's like when we were in Jersey coming here. So we will be in Long Island doing a lot more, just like we were here before we came here. The people on Long Island, they will see the D-League team, the players.
"We are going to be in Long Island doing a lot more than just playing games there,'' King said. "So it won't be we are just going to show up the following year."Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano was pleased with the announcement.
"Its great to have the Long Island Nets," Mangano said. "Obviously, the Nets are part of the history of Nassau County. It's a milestone day where the people of Nassau County are beginning to see the entertainment and the type of sporting programming that's going to take place at the Coliseum. It's a nice way to take the family out, see a basketball game, the Long Island Nets, and it will be affordable as well.''