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Blazers launch NBA G League team that they'll own and operate

Blazers launch NBA G League team that they'll own and operate

The Portland Trail Blazers and NBA G League announced that the Blazers have acquired the right to own and operate an NBA G League team that will play in the Chiles Center on the University of Portland’s campus in North Portland.

The team name and branding (as well as the front-office and coaching staff) will be announced at a later date, but the team is expected to debut in the 2023-24 season. With this announcement, the NBA G League expands to a record 31 teams for the 2023-24 season. 

“I’m excited to welcome Jody Allen and the Trail Blazers ownership group to the NBA G League family,” said NBA G League president Shareef Abdur-Rahim. “The NBA G League continues to grow to meet the developmental demands of NBA teams, and today’s announcement is further proof of the value the league provides to the NBA every day. I can’t wait to watch the team tip off at the Chiles Center next season.”

“It was very important to our organization to enter the G League with an affiliate here in Portland and strategically strengthen our dedication to player development,” said Blazers general manager Joe Cronin. “I would especially like to thank Jody Allen, who is aligned with Dewayne Hankins and myself, to make it a priority to have this team ready for next season as it will serve not only as a developmental tool for players but also for aspiring coaches and staff while we continue to be a mainstay in the community as a whole.”

To finish the 2022-23 NBA season, nine players on the Blazers had NBA G League experience: Ibou Badji, John Butler Jr., Chance Comanche, Drew Eubanks, Keon Johnson, Skylar Mays, Justin Minaya, Anfernee Simons and Jeenathan Williams. Since the NBA G League was established in 2001, Portland has called up a total of 20 players, including 13 over the last two seasons. The Blazers have assigned 27 players to the NBA G League for development or injury rehabilitation, while Portland assistant coaches Jonah Herscu, Steve Hetzel and Roy Rogers spent time coaching in the G League.

"Entering the G League with a team of our own will increase development in numerous areas,” said Blazers president of business operations Dewayne Hankins. “Not only will this team be an asset for developing young talent on the court, but developing talent off the court as well. We’ll be leaning into an innovative approach that will improve all aspects of our business across both teams. With the team launching at the University of Portland, we’re excited to continue engaging with the North Portland community.”

“Pilot Nation is thrilled to welcome the Trail Blazers G League franchise to their home on The Bluff,” said University of Portland president Robert D. Kelly, PhD. “UP has a rich and storied athletic tradition, and we couldn’t be more excited to continue that tradition by hosting this new franchise on our beautiful campus. I am grateful to our friends from the Portland Trail Blazers and our Athletic Department staff for making this wonderful partnership happen, and I can’t wait for the inaugural season to begin!”

The NBA G League is a proven developer of NBA talent while also acting as the league’s research and development laboratory, testing out innovative rules now used at the NBA level, including the Coach’s Challenge and the 14-second shot-clock reset rule. 

Currently, more than half of the players on NBA rosters have G League experience, while six NBA head coaches spent time honing their craft in the G League. In addition, half of the first-round picks in the 2022 NBA Draft played games in the G League this season.

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