Timberwolves to buy NBA D-League affiliate in Iowa
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves didn't have to look far for an NBA Development League affiliate. Wolves owner Glen Taylor and the D-League announced a letter of intent to buy a majority stock of the Iowa Energy. Iowa is currently a hybr...
MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Timberwolves didn't have to look far for an NBA Development League affiliate.
Wolves owner Glen Taylor and the D-League announced a letter of intent to buy a majority stock of the Iowa Energy.
Iowa is currently a hybrid affiliate of the Memphis Grizzlies, an agreement that will come to an end at the conclusion of this season. Iowa was the Wolves' affiliate during the 2013-14 season.
With the purchase, the Wolves will become the 18th franchise to own a D-League team.
Advantages to owning a D-League franchise include the ability to work with and grow an organization's younger players who might not be ready for NBA minutes or simply can't get onto the floor during NBA games because of a team's current roster situation.
The Energy are based in Des Moines, Iowa, which is just a three-and-a-half hour drive and roughly a one-hour flight from Minneapolis. That creates roster flexibility.
In previous years, the Wolves used the D-League sparingly, briefly sending down players like Tyus Jones, Adreian Payne and Shabazz Muhammad. For the most part, as a young team, many of the Wolves' recent draft picks have been thrown into the NBA lineup.
But now Minnesota could theoretically take a young player who isn't getting many minutes and send him down to Iowa to play a D-League game on a Monday night and have that player back in Minneapolis for practice on Tuesday afternoon.
That is important, particularly with coach Tom Thibodeau previously talking about the value of his players working with the team in practice each day.
"We're thrilled to bring the Iowa Energy into the Timberwolves family," Taylor said in a statement. "It's great knowing that we can develop our young players so close to home and enjoy all the other benefits that come with owning a D-League team. We look forward to growing our relationship with the greater Des Moines area, the state of Iowa and basketball fans across the Upper Midwest."
The Minnesota Wild have a minor-league franchise in Des Moines, the Iowa Wild, in the American League Hockey League, and frequently shuffle players between Des Moines and St. Paul.