The Golden State Warriors are the fourth team to buy a D-League team with their purchase this week of the Dakota Wizards.
The Wizards, who went 19-31 last season, will control the team’s business and basketball operations at the start of the 2011-12 season.
While the Wizards will remain in Bismarck, North Dakota for now, Jim Wyermann, who was just hired as vice president of the franchise, will look into moving the franchise to California.
While the Dakota Wizards have served as the affiliate team to a few NBA teams in the past, the purchase makes the Warriors will become the exclusive affiliate, similar to the way the San Antonio Spurs own the Toros, the Los Angeles Lakers own the Defenders and the Oklahoma City Thunder own the 66ers.
The Warriors, who have been one of the best franchises at plucking D-League talent in the past, including Kelenna Azabuike, Anthony Morrow and Anthony Tolliver, will benefit from having their own affiliate, not just because of the direct connection with the D-League, but because they can use the Wizards to evaluate their own players, and the fact that the D-League will have no stoppage in game play due to the CBA is an added benefit.
With the purchase, the Warriors end their affiliation with the Reno Bighorns and the Washington Wizards are now left without a D-League affiliate.