TULSA — The San Antonio Spurs' model is continuing to take shape in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City's NBA team has agreed to purchase the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Developmental League, becoming only the third NBA franchise to own a D-League team.
The Los Angeles Lakers own the L.A. D-Fenders. The San Antonio Spurs own the Austin Toros. The Professional Basketball Club paid $2.25 million for the 66ers, according to Oklahoma City's NBA team chairman Clay Bennett, and will now have full control of the franchise's business and basketball operations. The 66ers also will become the sole affiliate of Oklahoma City. As part of wholesale changes to the D-League's affiliation system, the NBA announced on June 11 the 66ers would serve as the affiliate for the franchise formerly known as the Seattle SuperSonics as well as the Milwaukee Bucks for the 2008-09 season. The D-League hasn't announced which team will now become Milwaukee's affiliate. "It gives you a consistency and a purpose of what it is you're trying to accomplish both on and off the floor,” said Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti of the acquisition. "And we'll look to implement the same system so that there's almost a corporate knowledge from a basketball standpoint between our team and our team in Tulsa. So it just continues to breed consistency and allows us to build more depth in the organization.” Presti was assistant general manager in San Antonio when the Spurs began planning to acquire the Austin Toros. He was hired in Seattle three weeks before the Spurs announced their acquisition. Oklahoma City coach P.J. Carlesimo was lured from his assistant coaching job in San Antonio one week after the Spurs announced their agreement. In addition to now having the ability to create an organization-wide philosophy, Bennett said the 66ers present a profitable business opportunity and create a presence of Oklahoma City's NBA team in Tulsa. Although the NBA franchise's official name is Oklahoma City rather than Oklahoma, Bennett has long touted the team as the state's team and Tulsa as an important city to the franchise's long-term viability. "We are going to attempt to connect with the NBA team in Oklahoma City,” Bennett said.
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