GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Drive have announced a new partnership with the Denver Nuggets, beginning with the 2021-22 season.
The affiliation comes after the Detroit Pistons moved their NBA G League team to Detroit after the 2020-21 season.
"They haven't had a G League team, I knew Coach Malone and the Nuggets, they're very focused on their development so I just sent them a note," said Drive owner, Steve Jbara.
Jbara says the partnership has been in the works for several months now.
"I went out and met with them and we started putting the partnership together about seven or eight months ago, they're very receptive and excited to have a team that is their own and continue with that development process," added Jbara.
While it would have been easy for the Grand Rapids Drive to pack up and leave the city to find an easier NBA affiliate, Jbara says he was committed to keep them right here in West Michigan.
"I started the team when I was 23 or 24-years old, the city really wrapped its arms around me and the community has invested not only time but also resources and energy to get behind the team, I can't replace what that has done for me, both professionally and personally."
As hybrid affiliates, the Denver Nuggets will control all basketball operations with the G League team while Jbara and his staff will continue to control the business operation and community engagement.
"This is fantastic, the team is very excited and Denver is excellent with their development, they're going to spend time and resources here to make sure we get this right, as we have in the past," said Jbara.
The team is now working with the Nuggets to rebrand the Drive franchise including a new name and identity that better reflects the parent club.
"I'd say within a month or month and a half we'll launch our new name, but I'm excited for the city and our fans."
And Ben Wallace will be remaining on board as a co-owner of the Grand Rapids G League franchise.
"He's committed to Grand Rapids, too," added Jbara.
The team will take the court at the DeltaPlex in the 2021-22 season.