The NBA Development League, the Phoenix Suns and the Town of Prescott Valley, Ariz., announced today that the Suns have acquired the Bakersfield Jam and are relocating the team to Prescott Valley. The Suns become the 15th NBA team to own and operate its NBA D-League affiliate.
The team will be known as the Northern Arizona Suns and will play a 24-game home schedule at the 5,100-seat Prescott Valley Event Center (PVEC) beginning with the 2016-17 season.
“Today’s announcement is exciting not only to have the Phoenix Suns join the ranks of NBA D-League owners, but also to welcome Prescott Valley to the NBA D-League family of communities,” said NBA D-League President Malcolm Turner. “I’m looking forward to watching the Northern Arizona Suns take the court in November.”
The Bakersfield Jam has served as the Suns’ single-affiliate NBA D-League team the past two seasons, with the NBA franchise running basketball operations. The Suns will now assume business operations for the organization, with the new team serving as an extension of the Phoenix Suns’ brand in northern Arizona.
“We are thrilled to bring professional basketball to the Town of Prescott Valley,” said Suns President Jason Rowley. “In addition to the basketball advantages of our D-League affiliate being close to home, today’s announcement creates endless opportunities to strengthen the connection with our fans in northern Arizona.”
Suns interim head coach Earl Watson and assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren both began their coaching careers in the NBA D-League, while six members of the current Suns team have NBA D-League experience. The team has assigned 15 players to the NBA D-League since 2001.
“We’re happy to have an organization the quality of the Phoenix Suns in our community and region,” said Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog. “It’s an exciting thing to bring the Suns’ brand and legacy to Prescott Valley.”
Launched in 2001, the NBA D-League has expanded from an eight-team league to a record 22 teams for the 2016-17 season. All 19 teams for the 2015-16 season were singly affiliated with an NBA parent club, a first for the NBA D-League, and the three teams joining the NBA D-League for 2016-17 are owned by the Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls.