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Heat partner exclusively with Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA D-League

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HEAT will join the Sioux Falls Skyforce as an exclusive partner beginning with the 2013-14 season.

From the official Miami HEAT press release...

MIAMI, FL - The Miami HEAT announced today they have entered into a single affiliation partnership with the NBA Development League's Sioux Falls Skyforce beginning with the 2013-14 season. The HEAT will be the only NBA team affiliated with the Skyforce and will have full control over their basketball operations. Miami becomes the 13th NBA team to have a one-on-one partnership with an NBA D-League team, and the sixth to enter into a "hybrid" affiliation, meaning the HEAT will pay for and control the Skyforce's basketball operations, while existing local ownership maintains primary responsibility for the team's off-the-court business operations and community initiatives. In addition to the new partnership, the Skyforce has updated their logo to resemble the colors and signature font of the Miami HEAT.

"We have been working with the Skyforce for four years and feel that it is one of the most professional organizations in the NBA Development League," said HEAT President Pat Riley. "It will be a pleasure working with Mike Heineman to make this partnership a success for both them and the Miami HEAT."

The HEAT join the Brooklyn Nets (Springfield Armor), Boston Celtics (Maine Red Claws), Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers), New York Knicks (Erie BayHawks) and Portland Trail Blazers (Idaho Stampede) as NBA teams with "hybrid" NBA D-League affiliations.

"This partnership between the HEAT and Skyforce further demonstrates the growing importance of an exclusive NBA D-League affiliate for NBA team player, coach, and staff development," said Dan Reed, NBA D-League President. "We're excited about the positive impact this record 13th 'one-to-one' affiliation will have for both teams and the league as a whole."

Seven other NBA teams, including the Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge), Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors), Los Angeles Lakers (L.A. D-Fenders), Oklahoma City Thunder (Tulsa 66ers), Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware 87ers) and San Antonio Spurs (Austin Toros) fully own and operate their D-League teams while the Dallas Mavericks and Texas Legends are one-to-one affiliates.

"The Miami HEAT is a premier franchise in the NBA and we are honored to be their exclusive NBA D-League affiliate," said Mike Heineman, Skyforce owner/president. "This affiliation will take our franchise to a whole new level on and off the court."

The Sioux Falls Skyforce joined the NBA D-League in 2006 after serving stints with both the International Basketball League (2000-01) and the Continental Basketball Association (1989-00 & 2001-2006). The Skyforce captured two CBA Championships (1996 & 2005) and three CBA division titles as well as making three postseason berths in the NBA D-League.