The next time a rookie from Utah is sent to the D-League, he’ll still be playing Jazz basketball.
The Jazz on Tuesday officially announced a single affiliation with the D-League’s Idaho Stampede, giving Utah control over the basketball operations of the minor league club in Boise.
Jazz to host free-agent camp
The Jazz will work out 27 free agents Wednesday, during a two-hour minicamp in Salt Lake City.
Among the invitees are former Utes Carlon Brown and Jason Washburn, former UCLA Bruin Tyler Honeycutt, Idaho Stampede standout Dee Bost, and swingman James Nunnally, who spent time with the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers last season.
Last season, the Jazz hosted a similar camp, bringing in 24 free agents.
That means Jazz officials will pick the team’s new coaching staff and control player personnel. And the Xs and Os run in Boise will have been drawn up previously in Salt Lake City by new Jazz coach Quin Snyder and his staff.
"We think, with this young team, utilizing a D-League program and system is a natural option for us, really another key tool in our development," said Jazz president Randy Rigby.
Under the "hybrid affiliation," the ninth of its kind between teams from the two leagues, the Jazz will manage all aspects of the Stampede’s basketball operations, while Idaho ownership controls the club’s business dealings.
With the Portland Trail Blazers parting ways with the Stampede earlier this year, the Jazz saw a natural fit geographically to develop and control its own minor league affiliate.
"The Idaho Stampede are thrilled to partner with the Utah Jazz, as their new single-affiliate team in the NBA D-League," Bill Ilett, managing investor of the Boise team, said in a news release. "… We are excited to be a part of the development of their new young squad of players over the next several years. Basketball fans in Southern Idaho have always loved the Jazz and we are all now part of the Jazz family."
The partnership, as well as the relatively close location of the team, will likely lead to more frequent use of the D-League, Rigby said.
"We feel if we are going to send players down, we’d like to utilize it in the most effective way and maximize the opportunity. The only way you can really maximize that is if you’re running your system and program," he said.
Rigby said there is no timeline for the franchise to name its D-League coaching staff, something Snyder and general manager Dennis Lindsey will have heavy influence upon. But the staff in Boise will be an "extension" of the staff in Salt Lake, Rigby said.
"We’ll invite them down to be part of our workouts and our camps in October and really integrate them into our overall coaching philosophy," he said.
The new affiliation also played a part in the Jazz’s decision to bring what could be a record number of prospects in for pre-draft workouts, allowing the team to scout players to fill out a roster in Boise.
The deal will make the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, currently associated with 13 NBA teams, the only D-League club with a multiple-team affiliation.
The Jazz previously teamed up with the Stampede in 2006-07 and 2011-12.
The Jazz were affiliated with the Albuquerque Thunderbirds in 2005-06, the Utah Flash from 2007-11, and the Reno Bighorns during the 2012-13 season.
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