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OKC's NBA franchise buys Tulsa's D-League team

By Darnell Mayberry Published: August 1, 2008

/> 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. "We intend to have a presence in Tulsa with our NBA team. We intend to do a lot of cross-promotion and cross-presence with activities and events and things with our games that hopefully bring value to the Tulsa operation.”

The new 4,500-seat Spirit Bank Events Center in Bixby also played a factor into the ownership group's decision to purchase the 66ers, Bennett said.

Bennett said the ownership group wants to align more closely with the 66ers, which could lead to a name change and team colors for the franchise, although the team will continue to be called the 66ers for the coming season.

"We're really pleased and thrilled about the opportunity to expand our basketball operation into Tulsa,” Bennett said. "Tulsa has been an important part of our efforts to be successful in Oklahoma City with the NBA relocation.

"Ultimately the team must be a state-wide team, and we've committed to that and believe in that. We know it will work, but the first place we need to be is in Tulsa.”

Oklahoma City's NBA rookies

Oklahoma City rookies DJ White, left, and Russell Westbrook pose for a portrait during the 2008 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot on Tuesday at the MSG Training Facility in Tarrytown, New York. by Jesse D. Garrabrant, NBAE/Getty Images

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