Bakersfield Jam sold, moving to Arizona
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) —
The Phoenix Suns have agreed to buy the Bakersfield Jam and relocate the NBA Development League franchise to Prescott Valley, Arizona.
The Jam will become the Northern Arizona Suns once relocated.
Current Jam owner Stan Ellis said he is hopeful to get an NBA D-League expansion franchise for Bakersfield.
"As a matter of fact, we're negotiating with four NBA teams as we speak," he said. "We're 99.9 percent closed on a deal with one of those teams, so we're going to play next season ... actually it should be 99.9999 percent!"
Ellis said nothing would change for the fans except for the players and the coaches. Ticket prices will remain the same.
He also said the new team will probably still be called the Jam.
"Unless our affiliate decides that they want to scramble at the last minute and put their logo on the floor," said Ellis.
The Jam are already an affiliate of the Suns. The D-League said the Suns will be the 15th NBA franchise to own and operate its minor-league team.
"We are thrilled to bring professional basketball to the Town of Prescott Valley," Suns President Jason Rowley said in a D-League news release. "In addition to the basketball advantages of our D-League affiliate being close to home, today's announcement creates endless opportunities to strengthen the connection with our fans in northern Arizona."
"We wish them luck in their new endeavor," said Ellis. "Except when we play against them!"
There are a few NBA franchises currently without a team in the D-League. The Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers could be the front-runners to get a team in Bakersfield, but Ellis also said that there are at least two NBA teams a few hours to the east that are an option.
Other than that, he wouldn't give up any clues.
"I'll let you draw your own conclusions," he laughed. "That's as much as I'm allowed to give at this point."
Ellis said the terms of the sale will be confidential.