The Erie BayHawks, the New York Knicks and the NBA Development League announced today that the Knicks and BayHawks have entered into a single affiliation partnership beginning with the 2011-12 season. The Knicks will be the BayHawks’ sole NBA affiliate and will have control over the team’s basketball operations.

In a model similar to other minor leagues, this partnership, also referred to as the “hybrid affiliation,” allows for NBA teams to secure control over and cover the expenses related to the basketball operations of an NBA D-League team, while partnering with existing ownership, which maintains responsibility for the team’s off-the-court business operations.

The Knicks are the third NBA team to enter into a hybrid affiliation with an NBA D-League team, joining the Houston Rockets, with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and the New Jersey Nets, with the Springfield Armor. The other NBA teams with lone NBA D-League affiliates are the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs, who fully own and operate the Tulsa 66ers and Austin Toros, respectively, and the Dallas Mavericks with the Texas Legends. The Knicks’ partnership with Erie comes on the heels of the NBA D-League’s 10th and most successful season, while 23 percent of all NBA players have used the NBA D-League as a launching pad.

“The New York Knicks’ single affiliation partnership with the Erie BayHawks marks yet another positive step forward in the NBA D-League’s continued evolution as the NBA’s official minor league,” said NBA D-League President Dan Reed. “We’re very excited to have the Knicks join a growing number of NBA teams who are realizing the benefits of a one-to-one relationship with their NBA D-League affiliate.”

Knicks Assistant General Manager Allan Houston was appointed BayHawks General Manager, Basketball Operations by Knicks President, Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh.

“The opportunity to have this new agreement with the Erie BayHawks and the NBA D-League is very exciting for the New York Knicks,” Houston said. “The impact of the NBA D-League continues to grow, and we look forward to this partnership.”

The BayHawks were previously affiliated with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors. Their new NBA D-League affiliates will be announced at a later date.

“The entire Erie BayHawks organization appreciates all that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors did to help us launch and become a successful NBA D-League team, and we are thrilled to begin a single affiliation with the New York Knicks,” said Erie Majority Owner and Managing Partner Steve Demetriou. “This hybrid relationship will further strengthen our franchise as the Knicks focus on overseeing the basketball operations, while team president Matt Bresee and his talented staff continue to grow the business side of the Erie BayHawks.”