The Washington Wizards and the NBA G League announced today that the Wizards have acquired the right to own and operate an NBA G League team. The team, which will debut in the 2018-19 season, is scheduled to play at the Wizards’ new facility in Ward 8 in Washington, D.C.
Today’s announcement means that the NBA G League is set to grow to a record 27 teams for the 2018-19 season. The newly renamed league will feature 26 teams next season.
“I’m thrilled to welcome the Washington Wizards to the NBA G League family,” said NBA G League President Malcolm Turner. “We’re looking forward to working closely with the Monumental Sports & Entertainment team to introduce the exciting brand of NBA G League basketball to the D.C. market as our record 27th team prepares to play in the 2018-19 season.”
“The NBA G League has been a great resource for us over the years, both for calling up talent and for allowing young players on our roster to gain more on-court experience,” said Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld. “Having our own team, selecting the front office and coaching staff and being able to implement our system will allow us to further enhance our player and staff development program moving forward.”
Washington’s new NBA G League affiliate, like the Wizards, will be owned and operated by Monumental Sports & Entertainment. The NBA G League team will play its 24 home games at a new, state-of-the-art venue on the campus of the former St. Elizabeths Hospital in southeast Washington. The St. Elizabeths facility, set to open in 2018, will also serve as the practice facility for the Washington Wizards and the home of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.
Since the NBA G League began in 2001, the Wizards have called-up a total of 17 players (10 since the start of the 2010-11 season). Notable call-ups include: Bobby Simmons (Mobile Revelers, 2002-03), Alonzo Gee (Austin Toros, 2009-10) and Garrett Temple (Reno Bighorns, 2012-13).
In April, the NBA G League finished a record-breaking season that included new marks for unique NBA players assigned (92) and players on end-of-regular-season NBA rosters with NBA G League experience (199 – 44% of NBA players). Five current Wizards have NBA G League experience, including starting center Marcin Gortat, who appeared in 2007. Guard/forward Sheldon McClellan and forward Chris McCullough both spent time on assignment last season.