GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Drive announced on Friday that it plans to opt out of the current 2020-21 NBA G-League season while promising major changes on the horizon for next year.
The NBA G-League, which operates as the minor league ranks of the NBA, recently announced it would hold an abbreviated season hosted exclusively in Orlando. This approach mimics the way the NBA finished out its 2019-2020 regular season and playoffs after a lengthy delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and is designed to limit potential exposure to the virus.
In an announcement and accompanying video released by the Drive, the organization’s upper brass said that — in conjunction with its NBA affiliate the Detroit Pistons — it decided to forgo the season.
Only 17 of the G-League’s 29 organizations have opted to participate.
“This was the right decision for our team, as we discussed both the safety and logistics surrounding a shortened, single-site season in Orlando,” Steve Jbara, president and co-owner of the Grand Rapids Drive, said in a statement. “Our focus turns now to the 2021-22 season, including an exciting new affiliate that will allow us to further elevate the professional basketball experience in West Michigan for our partners, players and fans.”
The 2020-21 season marked the final year that the Drive would operate as a G-League affiliate to the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons recently acquired the former Northern Arizona Suns, the G League affiliate to the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, and renamed the team Motor City Cruise. The team will play its inaugural season at a newly built arena on the campus of Wayne State University.
However, as indicated, the Drive is poised to link up with another NBA organization for the coming year.
“Our team remains committed to Grand Rapids,” said Ben Wallace, co-owner of the Grand Rapids Drive and a former star for the Pistons. “A new affiliate announcement may mean a new team name and logo, but this is home and we’re looking forward to sharing more details about our future soon as decisions are finalized with both our new affiliate and the NBA.”