No D-League for Timberwolves

By Phillip Pyle

Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves will take at least a year to make any long-term decisions on the future of their minor league basketball ties.

The organization’s former affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, announced earlier last week it’d be teaming up exclusively with the Miami Heat. At the moment, that leaves Minnesota without an official location to send its players to either gain professional experience or rehab from injury.
But the Timberwolves aren’t in a rush to make any permanent resolutions.

“We’re gonna evaluate it through the year and see what we do,” said Saunders, who coached the Skyforce (then a member of the Continental Basketball Association) in 1994-95 before taking over as Minnesota’s head coach. “Right now, I want to scout the league a little bit more for a year before we decide if we want to do anything either way.”

In agreeing to take over basketball operations and ownership of the Sioux Falls team, the Miami Heat became the 13th NBA franchise to enter into a one-to-one D-League relationship. Four D-League teams remain to be utilized by the NBA’s other 17 teams, including the Timberwolves.

The Houston Rockets affiliate is the Rio Grande Valley Vipers They play their home games at the State Farm Arena, in Hidalgo, Texas. With two D-League titles in 2010 and 2013, the Vipers are the most victorious team in the league alongside the Asheville Altitude.

It’s conceivable Minnesota could enter into a one-year agreement with either the Iowa Energy, Bakersfield Jam, Fort Wayne Mad Ants or Reno Bighorns — all of whom are still affiliated with multiple NBA teams — before looking back into a hybrid affiliation similar to the one just forged between the Heat and the Skyforce.