Today the Utah Jazz and the Idaho Stampede held a press conference announcing their new single affiliation partnership starting in the 2014-2015 NBA season.
Steve Brandes (Stampede President) conducted the press conference. Bill Ilett (Stampede Managing Investor), Randy Rigby (Utah Jazz President) and Dennis Lindsey (Utah Jazz General Manager) were all in attendance.
Ilett spoke first. Much like the Jazz Ilett see's the Idaho Stampede as a family, he is excited to become part of the Utah Jazz family. Ilett said that the Jazz took a long time and were deliberate in their decision to become partners with the Stampede. Ilett announced that it was a hybrid affiliation.
From the press release:
The partnership, also referred to as a "hybrid affiliation" is the ninth of the its kind in the NBA D-League and will enable the Jazz to manage all aspects of the Stampede's basketball operations, while the existing local ownership group headed by Bill Illett will maintain primary responsibility for the team's off-the-court business operations and community initiatives.
Ilett spoke of a time when he met Larry Miller. Ilett said that Larry and him were kindred spirits. They spoke only for 10 minutes at his home but he felt like Larry was his brother. Ilett said that Larry could not have been kinder to him. Ilett believes that the Miller group still is ran as Larry ran it.
Randy Rigby spoke after Ilett. Rigby spoke about the importance of the Idaho Stampede to the Jazz. Rigby believes that having a strong affiliation with the Stampede can only benefit the Jazz. Rigby mentioned that not only the young Jazz players will benefit but that coaching staff will also be strengthened by their affiliation with the Stampede.
Dennis Lindsey was the final speaker. Lindsey spoke of the Utah Jazz youth movement. Lindsey said that he believes that now it is more important than ever to have a strong relationship with a D-League team. Lindsey said that the Jazz will be in charge of the Stampede's coaching staff. In the question and answer following their statements I asked Lindsey what the Spurs did that allowed the Toro's to be successful. (I mentioned that the Toros finished 1st or 2nd in the standings 5 of the 7 years since the Spurs have owned the Toros).
Lindsey gave a beautiful answer. Lindsey talked about the importance of instilling the NBA's team culture into the D-League team. Lindsey said that the Spurs were in charge of the coaching staff. Having that control, the Spurs were able to train the coaching staff, run the Spurs system and decide how players were used. Lindsey made special mention of the young players on the Spurs and the growth they experienced through the Toros. Lindsey said that the Spurs insured that the 12th-15th bench players were young. They didn't want veterans at the end of the bench. By having young players they were able to teach them through their D-League experience. Lindsey gave the example of Danny Green. Green played for the Toros, running the Spurs system, getting the reps and the minutes that the Spurs deemed best. Now he is starting for the Spurs in the NBA Finals. Lindsey wants to do the same with the Jazz and the Stampede.
After the press conference we were allowed to go one-on-one with those involved in the press conference. I spoke with Brandes, Rigby and lastly Lindsey.
I asked Brandes if the Stampede would change their colors to match the Utah Jazz. Brandes responded that it would be at least a few years before they could rebrand. They coordinated so well with the Blazers in that way just by coincidence. The Stampede will look to change their logo to make it look more like the Jazz and less like the Blazers.
I asked Rigby if ROOT sports would air Idaho Stampede games. Rigby said they are trying to work that out for Jazz and Stampede fans. Rigby mentioned that they have been able to broadcast AAA baseball games in the past and ROOT sports is always looking for more things to air.
Rigby and I also talked about the small number of Jazz fans in Boise. Rigby hopes through the affiliation with the Stampede and branding more people in the Boise area will become Jazz fans.
Lindsey is amazing. I followed up my question from the general Q&A about the Spurs success with the Toros to how it might affect Jazz players. We also talked about the role that head coach, Quin Snyder will play.
Lindsey told me that the Jazz will implement their system with the Stampede. The Jazz will have control over which players are played and how they are used. I asked about which young players would benefit from the affiliation, mentioning Rudy Gobert and Ian Clark. Lindsey said he couldn't mention specific players but did mention how young our team was and then mentioned our three 2014 draft picks.
Lindsey mentioned that this is all possible because Quin Snyder knows the importance of the D-League. Lindsey said that was a contributing factor into why Snyder was hired. Lindsey said that Snyder knows how to develop players. The Jazz have a young team that needs to be developed, Snyder was hired for that role.
- The press conference was great. Ilett is very excited about the partnership and the chance to work with the Utah Jazz. They look like they will have a very good relationship. There was just such a good feeling in the room.
- Randy Rigby is very friendly and personable. Rigby remembered meeting me before. Rigby is a very nice man.
- Dennis Lindsey is absolutely amazing and the right man for the Jazz at this time. When I introduced myself. Dennis said I know who you are Diana. Its nice to finally meet you. He then said that he had read some of my work at SLC Dunk. I honestly was very surprised. I have had no interactions with Dennis Lindsey before today and he knew of me.
- Dennis Lindsey is very excited about Quin Snyder. Lindsey was glowing when he talked about Snyder with me.
- I thanked Lindsey for all the good changes that he has made with the Jazz the last few years. I said how excited we are about Quin Snyder being the new head coach and how excited we are about the young players on our team and the direction the team is going. Lindsey gave me a big smile and said you're welcome.