The New Orleans Pelicans believe they will be better able to develop players by launching a G League team.
The NBA team place a team in Birmingham, Alabama, in the 2022-23 season after $123m renovations are completed to the Legacy Arena.
In the meantime, the Pelicans will operate the Erie BayHawks in Erie, Pennsylvania, starting next season following the end of their partnership with the Atlanta Hawks.
Owning their own G League team means the Pelicans no longer have to send rising stars to development teams owned and operated by other NBA franchises.
“Now, we can take command of the development. We can control where we want players to improve that can help us long term,” said Pelicans general manager Dell Demps.
“Having the players feel like they are still connected to the team while they’re on assignment is very important.”