The NBA Development League has awarded an expansion team to Portland, Maine for the 2009-10 season, NBA D-League President Dan Reed announced today at a press conference at Portland High School. The team, which is the first expansion franchise awarded for the 2009-10 season, will play at the Portland Expo Center.

The franchise will be owned and operated by Maine Basketball, LLC, which is principally owned by Bill Ryan Sr., the chairman of TD Banknorth Group and Bill Ryan Jr., who owns and operates Oxford Plains Speedway. Jon Jennings, a partner in Maine Basketball, LLC and former Boston Celtics assistant coach, will serve as the team’s president and general manager.

Today’s announcement, the NBA D-League’s first foray into New England, was held in front of the school’s student body while featuring Reed, Celtics Team President Rich Gotham, the Celtics Dancers, and a speech by the Portland High Student Body President Brian Furey.

“Expansion to Portland is another example of the health and growth of the NBA D-League,” said Reed. “We are very pleased to add Bill Ryan Sr., Bill Ryan Jr., and Jon Jennings to our ownership ranks, as they bring a wealth of business, sports operations, and basketball experience on behalf of the team and the community.  I’m confident that fans throughout the state of Maine will enjoy our world-class level of basketball featuring current and future NBA players, as well as appreciate the team’s family-friendly environment, affordable prices, and positive impact on the Portland and Maine community.”

“I’m overjoyed to bring NBA D-League basketball to Portland,” said Jennings.  “We’ve already established strong relationships with the people of this community, and we can’t wait to get underway next season.  I know that this team will have a long and exciting future in Maine.”

Portland will be affiliated with two NBA team parent-clubs, which will be able to assign their first and second year players to the club a maximum of three times during a season. Thus far, the 2008-09 NBA D-League season has had 22 NBA players assigned on 24 occasions to NBA D-League affiliates as players continue to develop their game. An announcement regarding Portland’s NBA team affiliations will occur during the offseason.