The Miami Heat on Monday announced an extension of their successful single-affiliation partnership with the NBA Development League team the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Since taking over the Skyforce's basketball operations, the Heat have sent several of their players to the Skyforce for stints as well as sign players from the team's training camp rosters in order to continue working with them in Sioux Falls.
The franchise has also built the coaching staff with their own talent, naming former Heat scout Paul Delany as a head coach in 2013, with Heat consultant Phil Weber succeeding him in 2014 after Delany accepted an assistant coach offer with the Charlotte Hornets. Former Heat player Chris Quinn also splits time between both teams as an assistant coach.
Here is the complete press release the team sent out announcing the new agreement:
The Miami HEAT announced today they have extended a single affiliation partnership with the NBA Development League's Sioux Falls Skyforce through the 2016-17 season. The HEAT will continue to be the only NBA team affiliated with the Skyforce and will continue full control over their basketball operations. Miami is one of 18 NBA teams to have a one-on-one partnership with an NBA D-League team, and one of eight to enter into a "hybrid" affiliation, meaning the HEAT will continue to 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. When the teams first entered into the new partnership prior to the 2013-14 season, the Skyforce updated their logo to resemble the colors and signature font of the Miami HEAT.
"We have been working with the Skyforce for six years and feel that it is one of the most professional organizations in the NBA Development League," said HEAT President Pat Riley. "We have had a very successful working partnership with them the last two years and have had successful development with current players Tyler Johnson and Hassan Whiteside, and past players Shabazz Napier, Henry Walker, Justin Hamilton and Zoran Dragic."
The HEAT join the Boston Celtics (Maine Red Claws), Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids Drive), Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers), Memphis Grizzlies (Iowa Energy), Orlando Magic (Erie BayHawks), Phoenix Suns (Bakersfield Jam) and Sacramento Kings (Reno Bighorns) as NBA teams with "hybrid" NBA D-League affiliations.
Nine other NBA teams, including the Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge), Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors), Los Angeles Lakers (L.A. D-Fenders), New York Knicks (Westchester Knicks) Oklahoma City Thunder (Oklahoma City Blue), Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware 87ers), San Antonio Spurs (Austin Spurs), Toronto Raptors (Raptors 905) and Utah Jazz (Idaho Stampede) fully own and operate their D-League teams.
"The HEAT have been an amazing partner for the past two years and we're happy to be affiliated with such a championship level franchise and first class organization," said Mike Heineman, Skyforce owner/president.
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 five postseason berths in the NBA D-League. Since the teams entered the hybrid affiliation for the 2013-14 campaign, the Skyforce have made the playoffs both years, including their first Central Division title in the 2014-15 season.