Idaho Stampede, Utah Jazz relationship a 'natural fit'

Utah's NBA franchise picks up Boise's D-League team as its minor-league affiliate.

dsouthorn@idahostatesman.comJune 11, 2014 

From left: Utah Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey, president Randy Rigby, Idaho Stampede managing investor Bill Ilett and Stampede president Steve Brandes. Rigby and Ilett exchange Jazz and Stampede jerseys.

In seeking an NBA affiliate, the Idaho Stampede did not have to look far.

After a two-year partnership with the Portland Trail Blazers ended in April, Idaho hoped for a similar deal with another NBA team. Eventually, the one closest to home made perfect sense.

"It's a very natural fit from a community and a basketball standpoint," said Jazz President Randy Rigby, whose team played a preseason game in Boise in October and has previously held other exhibition games and training camps in the Treasure Valley.

On Tuesday, the Stampede and Jazz announced a "hybrid" affiliation for next season. The Stampede, who play in the NBA Development League, will handle the business side of operations, while the Jazz will manage the basketball side, including coaches and the roster.

Last season, Portland assigned, then called back up, only two players for a total of eight games.

"I think they'll use it quite a bit more," Idaho Managing Investor Bill Ilett said. "Geographically, we can move players easily, and I think culturally it makes a lot of sense."

Utah has three picks in June 26's draft — Nos. 5, 23 and 35 — and a roster that ended the season with only two players older than 28. Just how much the team will utilize the partnership via callups and assignments remains to be seen.

However, Jazz General Manager Dennis Lindsey, the assistant GM in San Antonio from 2007-12, said there were nine callups and 15 assignments from Austin to San Antonio when Quin Snyder was the Toros' coach from 2007-10. Snyder was hired as the Jazz head coach last week.

"I anticipate, depending on the roster situation, that we use it a great deal, maybe not so much in other years," Lindsey said. "But if you look at it long-term, we plan on being in Boise for many years."

No timeline has been set for the hiring of a new Idaho coach, though Lindsey said he realizes key dates like July's NBA Summer League would be important to have a coach in place. Ilett said the Stampede uniforms and logo may undergo tweaks next season to match the Jazz, and likely will evolve further as the affiliation continues.

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