The Los Angeles Clippers announced Monday they're establishing an expansion team in the NBA D-League. The Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario will begin play at the start of the 2017-18 season in Ontario, Calif.
"This is another exciting day for the NBA D-League as we add a record 26th team and continue to move closer to our 30-team vision," league president Malcolm Turner said in a statement. "Today's announcement is the latest example of the value NBA teams place on developing young talent on and off the court. I'm thrilled to welcome Steve Ballmer and the Clippers, in partnership with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, to the NBA D-League family."
The Agua Caliente Clippers shared a look at their new primary and secondary logos on Twitter:
Now introducing: The Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario! Press Release » https://t.co/YAWjBiDgIl https://t.co/NLhnG3xqXj2017-5-15 19:29:01
The Summitt's Howard Megdal made light of the franchise's lengthy official moniker:
Howard Megdal @howardmegdal
I, for one, cannot wait until the Clippers' new D-League team moves locally and becomes the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario of Anaheim.2017-5-15 19:10:42
The Clippers had been one of the few teams without an official affiliate in the D-League. Upon being sent to the D-League, rookie forward Brice Johnson played for the Salt Lake City Stars, a Utah Jazz affiliate. Rookie center Diamond Stone split his time between the Stars and the Santa Cruz Warriors, who are under the Golden State Warriors' umbrella.
By having a D-League team of their own, the Clippers will more easily be able to track the development of young players such as Stone and Johnson.
The D-League, meanwhile, continues to evolve as a minor league for the NBA, and it's likely only a matter of time before every NBA franchise has a D-League affiliate where it can groom young players before elevating them to the active roster.