The Detroit Pistons agreed to purchase the Northern Arizona Suns from the Phoenix Suns, but that won’t change the Grand Rapids Drive’s decision to stay in Grand Rapids.
“The Drive stand committed to the city of Grand Rapids, and we look forward to our continued future here in West Michigan within the NBA G League,” the team posted on its Twitter page. “We’ve begun discussions about the future of our affiliation, details of which we hope to have in the coming weeks. Our focus has been and, will continue to be, providing the people of West Michigan with a great professional basketball experience.”
Team statement following the news out of Detroit this morning. #WeAreGR
— Grand Rapids Drive (@grdrive) July 29, 2020
The news comes after the Pistons said last year that they will bring their own NBA G League team to Detroit after the Drive, the G League affiliate of the Pistons, refused to relocate to Detroit after their hybrid operating agreement expires at the end of 2020-21 G League season.
“I’m excited to welcome (owner) Tom Gores and the Detroit Pistons as NBA G League owners,” NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim said in a statement. “It’s always bittersweet for a team to relocate, and I thank Robert Sarver and the Phoenix Suns for their time in this league and the fans in Northern Arizona for their ongoing commitment to the team. I’m sure the fans in Detroit will welcome the team with open arms and I look forward to watching NBA G League basketball at Wayne State for seasons to come.”
Said Gores: “This is another important investment in our franchise and the city of Detroit. Having an NBA G League team near our new performance center will be an advantage for our front office, our coaching staff and our young players. It will also generate more economic activity in the area and serve as a catalyst for additional development.”
The Northern Arizona Suns are expected to be rebranded and play in a new arena currently being constructed on the campus of Wayne State University in the 2021-22 season.