Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman reports that Idaho Stampede managing investor Bill Ilett is "frustrated" with aspects of his D-League team's relationship with the Portland Trail Blazers.
"I'd be lying to you if I told you it wasn't frustrating. In my world, there's only one group that comes into this arena that gets to vote. And it's not the Portland Trail Blazers and it's not the owners of the Idaho Stampede. It's the people that buy tickets and come to the games," Ilett said before the game. "The entertainment package has slipped."
"We're concerned about winning tonight, tomorrow night and the next night," Ilett said. "Maybe they're looking at it as developmental."
"I look at the other teams that have hybrids in this league and they're winning games and building crowds and building an entertainment package. The Idaho Stampede and the Portland Trail Blazers need to sit down and say, ‘How do we fix this?'" Ilett said. "I don't think we have seriously looked eye to eye: How can we together solve this problem? That needs to happen soon."
The Stampede currently have the worst record in the D-League at 5-15 under first-year coach Michael Peck, who was hired from the high school ranks. The Blazers have sent Will Barton, Victor Claver, Joel Freeland and Nolan Smith to the D-League for brief stints at various points this season.
The Blazers entered into a single-affiliation relationship with the Stampede back in May. The press release included a statement from Illett.
In a model similar to other minor leagues, this partnership, also referred to as the "hybrid affiliation," allows for NBA teams to secure control over and cover the expenses related to the basketball operations of an NBA D-League team, while partnering with existing ownership, which maintains responsibility for the team's off-the-court business operations.
"The partnership with Portland is another large step toward the Idaho Stampede becoming more involved with the NBA and one of its premier teams in the Trail Blazers," said Stampede Managing Investor Bill Ilett. "It will add to the experience on and off the court for our community and basketball fans throughout the Treasure Valley."
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter