Nets want a D-League team in Brooklyn, are “close” to a decision

Bob MacKinnon coached the Springfield Armor in 2011.
Bob MacKinnon coached the Springfield Armor in 2011.
Bob MacKinnon coached the Springfield Armor in 2011.

It only took the Nets one year to want a D-League team again.

The Brooklyn Nets ended a five-year relationship with their D-League affiliate Springfield Armor at the end of the 2013-14 season. But after one season as one of 12 “hybrid affiliates” to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Nets general manager Billy King said Wednesday they’re close to a decision on a new D-League team, which would play its games in Brooklyn.

“It won’t start for a couple of years,” King said. “But we’re close to getting to an agreement on that.”

The Nets are hoping to land the team in Brooklyn for at least the first year, though beyond that is anyone’s guess. There’s rumblings that they want to play their D-League games at LIU Brooklyn — remember, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment formed an alliance with LIU Brooklyn to bring entertainment to LIU’s Paramount Theater, and the NBA hosted “NBA House” there during All-Star Weekend. Plus, it’s just a stone’s throw from Barclays Center. But it’s unclear if that will ever come to fruition.

There are significant hurdles to getting a D-League team, as NetsDaily details:

Between now and October, they’d have to buy the rights to an expansion team –and pay the NBA $6 million; find venues for both games and practice; hire staff which would include the full range of people from business to basketball operations, including GM, coach, assistant coach and trainer; get endorsement deals to help defray the not inconsequential costs, more than a million dollars, of operating the team; find housing for the players, which is the parent team’s responsibility, in the nation’s most expensive market; and get ready for the D-League Draft on November 1.

An additional delay might be a function of the NBA not wanting to expand the D-League too rapidly. Also, there are teams now ahead of the Nets in the queue for expansion teams, like the Hornets, the Raptors and perhaps the Wizards.

“It’s just a process you’ve got to go through with the league to get it done,” King added. “So we’re in the process of doing that now.”