The New Orleans Pelicans will reportedly announce plans for a NBA Gatorade League team in Birmingham, where it will play at a soon-to-be-renovated Legacy Arena. The club will launch in Erie, PA in 2019, playing interim seasons there until Legacy Arena’s overhaul is complete.
It has been known for some time that the Pelicans were seeking a G League team of their own, as they were linked to several markets last year, but now firm plans are emerging. The Pelicans will field a Birmingham G League team in the coming years, likely starting in 2021 or 2022. Once it arrives in Birmingham, the team will play at a newly renovated Legacy Arena–which is receiving extensive upgrades as part of a larger project that includes a new outdoor stadium for college football and other events.
New Orleans is launching a G League affiliate in Birmingham, Ala., league sources tell ESPN. Team will start play in Erie, Pa. next season until renovations are complete on arena in Birmingham.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 23, 2018
Until that renovation is complete, the team will play in Erie as the Erie BayHawks, starting with the 2019-2020 season. An announcement is expected on Wednesday. More from NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune:
The Pelicans will take over the BayHawks in 2019-20 and operate the team there until the move to Birmingham takes place for either the 2021-22 or 2022-23 season, depending on how long the renovations of Legacy Arena take.
New Orleans will take over full reigns of the franchise – hiring, staff, coaching staff, ticket sales – once the move to Birmingham is complete.
As of the 2018-19 season, there were 27 G-League teams with NBA affiliates.
The 2018-19 G League lineup includes a current incarnation of the Erie BayHawks that is owned by the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks will place their G League team in College Park, GA starting in 2019, when it will begin play at the new Gateway Center @ College Park.
As for the Pelicans, their long-term plans align with similar strategies that NBA organizations are taking with their G League teams. Having a G League club in Birmingham will give the Pelicans a broader presence in the Southeast, while having their development club within a reasonably close distance to New Orleans.
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