Phoenix Suns Acquire Rights To G League Team. Now All 30 Nba Teams Own Or Operate A Franchise

Phoenix Suns' Kevin Durant drives around Sacramento Kings' Malik Monk during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Phoenix, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)
Phoenix Suns' Kevin Durant drives around Sacramento Kings' Malik Monk during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Phoenix, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Suns announced Wednesday they have acquired the rights to a G League franchise that will begin play next season, meaning all 30 NBA teams now own or operate a team in the developmental league.

The Suns said the new team would play somewhere in the Phoenix metro area, though an exact location hasn't been announced. The team will be named in a fan contest, with the winner receiving $1,000 and season tickets for the first year.

“It’s all about building our organization,” Suns and Phoenix Mercury owner Mat Ishbia said.

The G League functions as a minor league system for the NBA. Ishbia, who bought the NBA and WNBA franchises about a year ago for a record price of $4 billion, said it’s an opportunity for the Suns to develop players, coaches and support staff.

“We are honored to welcome Mat Ishbia and the Phoenix Suns to the NBA G League, and are thrilled to achieve our long-stated goal that each of the 30 NBA teams has an NBA G League affiliate,” NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim said in a statement. “The NBA G League has never been more valuable to NBA teams than it is today, and the Suns’ investment only reinforces that reality. I can’t wait to join fans in the Valley next season to enjoy the unique brand of NBA G League basketball.”

The Suns also announced the formation of “Player 15,” which will be the umbrella company for Ishbia's sports, entertainment, real estate and investment entities. That includes the Suns, the Mercury, the Suns' arena and a $100 million campus for employees that is expected to open later this year.

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