Change is a good thing. The Sacramento Kings made a major announcement regarding their G-League affiliate on Monday afternoon. After a decade in Reno, the Bighorns are moving to Stockton, pending league approval.
Just a 45 minute drive from Downtown Sacramento, the City of Stockton has an arena and a perfect location to shuttle players back and forth from. The Bighorns will play at Stockton Arena and relocate their business operations to that area. They will use the Kings’ former practice facility at the Arco Arena site as their headquarters of basketball operations and have full use of the Golden 1 Center facility.
“Our NBA G-League team has been an incredible asset to help prepare players for NBA action and bringing the team closer to Sacramento will allow us to continue to build on that success and increase efficiency to this valuable development tool,” Sacramento Kings general manager Vlade Divac said via press release. “Kings fans in Stockton will now have an opportunity to see the next generation of NBA players each week.”
Led by general manager Anthony McClish, the Bighorns hosted five different young Kings players this season, including Skal Labissiere, Justin Jackson, Malachi Richardson, Georgios Papagiannis and Bruno Caboclo.
During the 2017-18 season, the Bighorns also supported two-way players JaKarr Sampson and Jack Cooley, and boast three G-League call up players in David Stockton (Utah Jazz), Reggie Hearn (Detroit Pistons) and Aaron Harrison (Dallas Mavericks).
Built in 2005, Stockton Arena is the home of the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League. The 12,000 seat arena is just 48 miles from Golden 1 Center, roughly 85 miles closer to Sacramento than Reno.
“It’s my honor to welcome the Kings organization to Stockton and I look forward to watching NBA G-League action at the Stockton Arena,” Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs said in the press release. “The Kings have been known for their tremendous impact in the community and we’re excited to have their full support as we continue to reinvent Stockton.”
The Kings still need to clear a few hurdles. They need league approval to move the franchise and Stockton City Council plans to review and vote on the agreement on Tuesday, April 17.
According to the press release, the team is getting a new identity, “that reflects the marks and history of the parent club in Sacramento.” The new branding will take place sometime this spring.