BAKERSFIELD - The NBA Phoenix Suns have entered into a single-affiliation relationship with the Bakersfield Jam beginning with the 2014-15 season. With the partnership, the Suns become the 15th NBA franchise to have a one-to-one relationship with an NBA D-League team.
The Suns will oversee and fund all aspects of the Jam’s basketball operations while the local ownership in Bakersfield, led by Stan Ellis and David Higdon, will continue to manage the team’s business operations and community outreach. Executives and players from both teams will celebrate the partnership with fans in Bakersfield at an event in September, according to a statement.
Phoenix has named Bubba Burrage, the Suns’ Head Pro Personnel Scout for the past three seasons, as the General Manager in Bakersfield.
The Suns have also hired long-time NBA D-League coach Nate Bjorkgren to helm Bakersfield for the 2014-15 campaign. Bjorkgren joins the Jam having amassed a 92-58 record as a head coach for the Dakota Wizards, Santa Cruz Warriors and Iowa Energy. Bjorkgren led the 13-14 Energy to the Central Division Championship and the 12-13 Warriors to the NBA D-League Finals.
The D-League Jam was affiliated with the Utah Jazz, Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Clippers and Atlanta Hawks in addition to the Suns.
The Suns will finance the Jam and have control of players' training, coaching staff and more.
The Suns can have up to 15 players on their roster and keep a player on the roster while he is assigned to Bakersfield. Players without much play time can develop with the Jam.
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