Team: Erie BayHawks
First Season: 2017-2018
Affiliate: Atlanta Hawks
Location: Erie, Pennsylvania
Arena: Erie Insurance Arena
Head Coach: Noel Gillespie
Mascot: Clutch The BayHawk
2017-2018 Finish: (28-22, 1st in Southeast), Lost in Eastern Conference Finals
2017-2018 Accolades: Malik Rose (NBA G League Basketball Executive of the Year Award)
2018 NBA G League 1st Round Pick(s): 5th (From Wisconsin)
Current Two-Way Players: Jaylen Adams (St. Bonaventure) and Alex Poythress (Kentucky)
Notable Alumni: Jeremy Lin, Seth Curry, Garrett Temple, Danny Green, Cliff Alexander, Ed Davis, Ricky Davis, C.J. Leslie, Josh Magette, Chris McCullough, C.J. Wilcox
On January 31, 2017, the Atlanta Hawks announced that they had acquired the rights to an expansion team, becoming the 24th franchise to sign up for league. The current Erie BayHawks franchise entered the NBA G League as an expansion team during the 2017-2018 season at Erie Insurance Arena with the intention of moving to College Park, Georgia prior to the 2019-2020 season.
The BayHawks’ namesake has been around since 2008 but was originally part of another franchise. In 2016, the Orlando Magic purchased the original BayHawks franchise with the intention of moving the team to Lakeland, where they would eventually become the Lakeland Magic. In order to preserve the history of the franchise, Atlanta Hawks ownership and the BayHawks’ original management team including Owen McCormick and Matt Bresee partnered to keep the BayHawks in Erie for two seasons before the move to Georgia.
In their first season under Atlanta Hawks ownership, the BayHawks won the Southeast Division and made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. The team ranked 2nd in the NBA G League in blocks per game (6.4 BPG), 5th in defensive rating per game (103 DRtgPG), 5th in assists per game (24.2 APG) and 7th in steals per game (9.7 SPG). Josh Magette, the BayHawks’ floor general, led all qualified players in dimes per contest with 10.2 assists per game. He was the only player in the league to average double-digit assists last season.
The franchise’s name came about from two natural mainstays in the Erie area. Local landmark Presque Isle Bay is located off the coast of Erie, Pennsylvania within the parameters of Lake Erie. The team’s BayHawks nickname comes from the hawks that inhabit and find their home in Presque Isle State Park, located on Presque Isle Bay.