The Charlotte Hornets have chosen Greensboro as the home for their NBA Development League franchise, to begin play in the fall of 2016.
A formal announcement is expected Tuesday. The Greensboro News and Record first reported the decision.
The Hornets announced in May their intention to start a D-League franchise based in the Carolinas. Seven cities were originally considered, with Asheville, Greenville, S.C., and Fayetteville as finalists.
The Hornets previously have shared a D-League affiliate with one or more other NBA teams. The trend in the NBA is toward teams owning or controlling their own D-League affiliates, geographically nearby, so that young players can be assigned there efficiently.
Last season two Hornets – rookie Noah Vonleh and veteran Jeff Taylor – spent brief stints in the D-League. Vonleh wasn’t playing much at the time and Taylor was coming off recovery from a ruptured Achilles tendon and an NBA suspension over a domestic violence charge.
Hornets coach Steve Clifford said at practice Sunday that setting up a D-League affiliate within driving distance of Charlotte could have big benefits.
“Great benefits: The opportunity to build continuity for young guys so they can play. They can both be here with us practicing and get game time (with the D-League team.)
“The best example I’ve heard of is Avery Bradley. There were plenty of days when he would practice in the morning with the (Boston) Celtics, then drive up to Portland, Maine, play a game that night and drive right back. His attitude was so good about it, and now look what he’s doing” as an NBA starter.
The Hornets will hire a coaching staff and a front office for the Greensboro team.
“We view player-development as critical. We think this is a great opportunity for our basketball people to have complete autonomy and control of how that part of the business is run,” Hornets president Fred Whitfield said in May. “We also see it as a great opportunity to keep growing our brand regionally.”
Nine NBA teams, most recently the Indiana Pacers, own and operate their own D-League affiliates. Eight others fund and run basketball operations, with a local promoter running business operations. The Dallas Mavericks’ D-League affiliate is owned by general manager Donnie Nelson.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell