NBA Development League President Dan Reed announced today at a press conference at the Basketball Hall of Fame that HWS Basketball, LLC will be bringing an NBA D-League team to Springfield, Massachusetts for the 2009-10 season. The team will play at Springfield’s MassMutual Center.
The new team will be owned and operated by Michael Savit who is the managing partner of HWS Basketball, LLC, a group of local investors. Savit brings with him to Springfield and the NBA D-League a wealth of minor league operational and sports business experience, including time as Senior Vice President at the Cleveland-based International Management Group (IMG) and as the managing partner of minor league baseball teams in the South Atlantic League, Midwest League, Southern League, California League, Coastal Plain League and New York-Penn League.
Savit and his group have been awarded the right to relocate the NBA D-League team currently playing in Anaheim, California to Springfield. While the local ownership group will have the option to retain rights to current Anaheim Arsenal players, they will announce a new name, colors, and a mascot for the Springfield team later on this spring.
“As the NBA D-League continues to move east, we’re very excited to bring a team to a place that not only has rich basketball history, but also boasts an impressive ownership group, strong civic leadership and community support,” said Reed. “We’re thrilled to welcome such a well-respected and experienced operator in Mike Savit to our ownership ranks, and look forward to not only bringing our unique brand of affordable, family-friendly, and NBA-caliber basketball to Springfield, but becoming a vital part of the greater Springfield community.”
Today’s announcement featured Reed, Savit, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, James E. Rooney, executive director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, University of Massachusetts men’s basketball head coach and Springfield native Derek Kellogg and George Ramirez, the deputy director and general counsel of the Department of Business Development, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. Rooney served as a master of ceremonies for the event.
“Today is an exciting day for Springfield!” said Savit. “I’m thrilled to be a part of the group that brought professional basketball back to the game’s birthplace and I can’t wait to contribute to this city’s great basketball history and become part of the fabric of the community.”
“The National Basketball Association, Springfield and the MassMutual Center are a powerful combination,” said Rooney of the MCCA, which owns the venue. “The entire Pioneer Valley will undoubtedly embrace our new pro team, and we plan to be worthy partners with our top-tier service and state-of-the-art amenities.”
The team in Springfield will be affiliated with two NBA team parent-clubs, which will be able to assign their first and second year players to the club up to three times during a season. Thus far, the 2008-09 NBA D-League season has had 30 NBA players assigned on 39 occasions to NBA D-League affiliates to continue to develop their games. An announcement regarding Springfield’s NBA team affiliations will occur during the offseason.