Professional basketball has finally made its way into the County. The NBA Development League and The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) announced today at a press conference that MSG acquired the right to own and operate an NBA D-League team that will play its home games at the Westchester County Center. With this purchase, the Knicks became the seventh NBA team to fully own and operate its own NBA D-League affiliate. The new team will be the D-League’s 18th team.
“This is a great day that’s been six months in the making,” said County Executive Rob P. Astorino during the press conference that took place at the County Center. “The County Center has been revived.”
The Knicks’ assistant general manager Allan Houston, who will serve as the D-League team’s general manager, noted the Knicks’ long history here in the County—from the team’s training facility in Tarrytown to the bevy of players and coaches who call Westchester home. “I remember playing on this floor during the summer league,” Houston said. “This will be Westchester’s team. It gives us a chance to showcase what a great place this is.”
Of choosing the County Center as the team’s home facility as opposed to other areas, Houston said, “We just thought this would be ideal, and it just happened that the ideal place worked out.”
Houston stressed the community aspect of the team, including its community events and engagement with the fans. “We’re continuing our relationship with Westchester,” said Houston.
To that end, the team is even allowing the fans to name the team. From now until March 24, fans can go to NYKnicksDLeague.com to submit names online, then vote on the final team name after the submission process.
“The real beneficiaries here are the fans here in Westchester,” said Dan Reed, the NBA D-League president, who alluded to the league’s high-caliber talent.
“This is a chance to see top NBA prospects in an affordable, family-friendly environment.” More than 30 percent of current NBA players (including five current Knicks players) have NBA D-League experience, while 40 percent of players drafted into the NBA over the last five years have spent time in the D-League. During the 2013-2014 season, 56 NBA players have seen action in the D-League on assignment from their parent clubs.
Astorino seemed giddy at the prospect of seeing that talent so close to home. “Not that we hope Carmelo [Anthony] gets injured, but if he does he will rehab on this floor,” quipped the County Executive. “And this place can rock for great basketball,” said Astorino.
Fans can now place a $100 deposit on season tickets, and individual game tickets will start at $12.