– Timberwolves Sign LOI to Become the 18th NBA Team to Own Its NBA D-League Affiliate –
NEW YORK, Jan. 23, 2017 – Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and the NBA Development League today announced a letter of intent from Taylor to purchase majority ownership in the NBA D-League’s Iowa Energy. Subject to finalization and NBA D-League approval of the transaction, Minnesota would become the 18th NBA team to own and operate an NBA D-League affiliate.
“It’s an exciting time in the NBA D-League as we welcome Glen Taylor and the Minnesota Timberwolves to our ownership ranks,” said NBA D-League President Malcolm Turner. “The Timberwolves are the latest in an ever-growing list of NBA teams that recognize the value an NBA D-League team brings to a franchise – a trend I’m confident will continue as the league grows to 30 teams.”
“We’re thrilled to bring the Iowa Energy into the Timberwolves family,” said Taylor. “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 Energy’s current hybrid partnership with the Memphis Grizzlies will come to an end at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season. Prior to its partnership with the Grizzlies, the Energy was affiliated with seven NBA teams between 2007-2014, including serving as Minnesota’s affiliate for the 2013-14 campaign.
Jed Kaplan, who led the acquisition of the Energy in 2014, will continue as a partner and will remain active in the management of the team.
“Today is a great day for Iowa basketball,” said Kaplan. “I’d like to thank Robert Pera and the Memphis Grizzlies for their stewardship of the Energy these last few years. I am honored to become a partner with an individual I hold in such high esteem as I do in Glen Taylor. Through his ownership of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, Glen has showed time and again his commitment to growing the game of basketball as well as the NBA as a whole.”
The Energy, which captured the 2011 NBA D-League Championship, will continue to play 24 home games at Wells Fargo Arena in downtown Des Moines, the team’s home since its inaugural season in 2007-08.
“The Minnesota Timberwolves are a first-class organization and we look forward to working with them here in Des Moines,” said SPECTRA’s Chris Connolly, general manager of the Iowa Events Center. “It will be exciting to see players develop on the Iowa Energy and to progress to play NBA basketball in Minneapolis.”
Four current Timberwolves have NBA D-League experience: Cole Aldrich, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Muhammad and Adreian Payne. In total, more than 40 percent of players drafted into the NBA since 2005 have spent time in the NBA D-League, including half of the players selected in NBA Draft 2016 presented by State Farm. This season, more than 70 NBA players have spent time on assignment in the NBA D-League.