– Raptors 905 to Begin Inaugural NBA D-League Campaign –


NEW YORK The NBA Development League will tip off its 15th season on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, it was announced on 10 September 2015.  The 2015-16 season features a record 19 teams including the expansion Raptors 905, the affiliate of the Toronto Raptors playing 50 games each between November and April.  For the first time, every NBA D-League team is singly affiliated with its NBA parent club.

For Indian fans, this will be an especially intriguing season to follow as it will mark the debut of Dallas Mavericks rookie Satnam Singh Bhamara, who will play with the Mavericks affiliate, Texas Legends, based in Frisco, Texas.

The Westchester Knicks play host to the Maine Red Claws and 2015 NBA D-League Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year Scott Morrison in the season’s opening game on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. ET at the Westchester County Center.  The schedule continues with four games on Friday, Nov. 13, including a matchup between the 2015 NBA D-League champion Santa Cruz Warriors, led by head coach Casey Hill, and the visiting Bakersfield Jam, featuring newly-minted head coach Chris Jent, at Kaiser Permanente Arena at 10 p.m. ET.

Raptors 905, led by head coach Jesse Mermuys, makes its NBA D-League debut Nov. 14 against the host Fort Wayne Mad Ants at 7:30 p.m. ET, one of eight contests on the first Saturday of the season.  Opening weekend concludes with a three-game slate on Sunday, Nov. 15, as all 19 teams play during the first three days of the season.  On Thursday, Nov. 19, the Raptors host the first-ever NBA D-League game in Canada when the team welcomes the Red Claws to Mississauga’s Hershey Centre.

The 905 will join the NBA D-League’s Eastern Conference, playing in the Atlantic Division alongside the Delaware 87ers, Erie BayHawks, Maine and Westchester.  The Canton Charge will continue playing in the East, but will be shifted to the Central Division, joining Fort Wayne, the Grand Rapids Drive, Iowa Energy and Sioux Falls Skyforce.  The Western Conference will continue to feature the Southwest (Austin Spurs, Oklahoma City Blue, Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Texas Legends) and Pacific (Bakersfield, Idaho Stampede, Los Angeles D-Fenders, Reno Bighorns and Santa Cruz) divisions.

The NBA D-League Showcase presented by Samsung, the league’s premier in-season scouting event, will take place from Jan. 6-10, 2016, in Santa Cruz.  Each NBA D-League team will play two regular-season games during the five-day event.  A full game schedule for the Showcase is forthcoming.  The NBA D-League All-Star Game will be played in Toronto in conjunction with NBA All-Star 2016 festivities.

The regular season comes to a close on Saturday, April 2, with a seven-game slate.  The 2016 NBA D-League postseason will begin no earlier than Tuesday, April 5.  During the season, 62 percent of games will be played on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Eight first-time NBA D-League head coaches will make their debuts this season, including former NBA All-Star Nick Van Exel, who will lead the Texas Legends beginning on Friday, Nov. 13 when the team visits Austin at 8:30 p.m. ET.  Van Exel joins Matt Brase (Rio Grande Valley) and Casey Owens (Los Angeles) as former NBA D-League assistant coaches to make the jump to the head chair.

Ten NBA teams own and operate their NBA D-League affiliates for the 2015-16 season: the Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton), Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz), Indiana Pacers (Fort Wayne), Los Angeles Lakers (L.A.), New York Knicks (Westchester), Oklahoma City Thunder (Oklahoma City), Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware), San Antonio Spurs (Austin), Utah Jazz (Idaho) and Toronto Raptors (Raptors 905).

An additional eight NBA teams have hybrid affiliation agreements: the Boston Celtics (Maine), Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids), Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley), Memphis Grizzlies (Iowa), Miami Heat (Sioux Falls), Orlando Magic (Erie), Phoenix Suns (Bakersfield) and Sacramento Kings (Reno).  Texas has a one-to-one relationship with the Dallas Mavericks.  The hybrid partnership gives an NBA team control of the NBA D-League team’s basketball operations while local ownership retains control of the business.

Fans can follow top NBA prospects and their favorite NBA D-League teams online at www.dleague.nba.com for live streamed games, highlights and insider analysis.

About the NBA Development League

The NBA Development League is the NBA’s official minor league, preparing players, coaches, officials, trainers, and front-office staff for the NBA while acting as the league’s research and development laboratory. Featuring 19 teams with direct affiliations with NBA franchises for the 2015-16 season, the league offers elite professional basketball at an affordable price in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. An all-time high 38 percent of all NBA players at the end of the 2014-15 season boasted NBA D-League experience. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. Fans can watch all NBA D-League games on nbadleague.com.

Vishnu Ravi Shankar
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