Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Wizards, Capitals and Mystics, met with media members Tuesday for the purposes of discussing an analytic scrimmage between two WNBA teams. During the 30-minute press conference, Leonsis also provided some interesting information regarding his NBA team.
Forget just having a D-League team. Leonsis's ideal plan involves putting one in the D.C. area.
However, such plans won't come into form until the organization finalizes a location for a new practice facility.
Following the scrimmage, Leonsis stated he hoped to lock down a location before the start of 2015-16 NBA season.
Though a report in April suggested a location at Howard University as a potential landing spot, Leonsis said Tuesday he is still exploring scenarios in the District, Maryland and Virginia. Once the site is located, completed construction for a new practice facility would take approximately 18-24 months.
The current practice facilities at Verizon Center are not on par with the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston , Leonsis acknowledged. He hopes to create a modern basketball facility for the Wizards and Mystics -- and possibly a third tenant.
"This is such a basketball Mecca," Leonsis said of Washington D.C., but also the Verizon Center. The arena is the home to the Wizards, Mystics and Georgetown Hoyas, and hosts other basketball games and events at all levels.
He continued. "I'd like one day to bring a D-League team to our community as well."
More than half of NBA teams have a direct one-to-one affiliation with a D-League squad. The Wizards were one of 13 NBA teams affiliated with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants last season.
Many organizations use their D-League team for purposes beyond mere playing time. By staffing the team with their own coaches, NBA teams can deploy similar plans and strategies on both levels rather than just send a prospect to play in a hodgepodge environment.
As for the connection with the practice facility, Leonsis mentioned the Los Angeles Lakers' scenario as a possibility. The Lakers' D-League team -- the D-Fenders -- plays games at the NBA practice facility. Keeping the D-League team in the same building would allow for more direct access to the Wizards' staff.
Though the ideal plan would involve seats for fans, Leonsis said of a D-League team, "I don’t see it as a business. I see it more as a developmental tool.”
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