As the franchise looks to launch a team in the NBA Gatorade League (G-League), cities are lining up to pique the interest of the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Pelicans are planning to become the latest NBA team to establish an affiliate in the G-League, which will be the new name of the current NBA Development League (D-League) starting next season. Plans call for the franchise to begin play for the 2018-19 G-League season in a city located in one of four states. In their original announcement, the Pelicans stated that the they were “sending a Request for Proposal (RFP) to 11 different cities and/or communities across Louisiana (seven), Mississippi (two), Alabama (one) and Florida (one). The cities were selected based on our team and NBA research.,” the release continued. “The team will be owned and operated by New Orleans Pelicans Owner Tom Benson and will be a direct, one-to-one affiliate of the Pelicans.”
Reports thus far have indicated that Jackson and Gulfport are the two Mississippi cities in the mix. Pensacola has been identified as a candidate in Florida, and Justin Verrier of ESPN has previously reported that Monroe, Shreveport, Alexandria, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, and St. Tammany Parrish are the Louisiana cities in the running. Meanwhile, Mobile is also expected to make a push for the team. Officials in the Alabama city are planning their pitch to the Pelicans, which could include use of the existing Mobile Civic Center. More from Local 15:
“Having the NBA stamp on it, the NBA logo, makes it a special opportunity,” said George Talbot, City of Mobile Director of Communications.
Talbot said it’s a great opportunity for the city and the civic center. Owners of the New Orleans Pelicans are considering a total of 11 different cities across the Gulf Coast for their new team, including Mobile, Gulfport, and Pensacola. They toured the Mobile Civic Center last week looking for a location that’s close to New Orleans with an arena that’s available.
Regardless of which city they ultimately select, the Pelicans appear poised to follow the trend set by other franchises of placing a G-League affiliate close to their NBA operations. The team, which does not currently have an exclusive affiliate in the league, has set a submission deadline of June 5 for full proposals.