"The Nets, which had a hybrid agreement with the Springfield Armor for three years before the team was sold and moved to Grand Rapids in 2014 — where it became the Pistons’ D-League team — hope to have a new D-League team in place that would play in Brooklyn in 2016, and perhaps on Long Island in subsequent years," Aldridge writes.
Ever since Forest City Ratner won the bid to redevelop the Nassau Coliseum, the Nets have been taking steps to reach out to the Long Island community these used to call home. They played a preseason game at Nassau Coliseum in October 2012, and their merchandise had a presence in the Islanders arena for the last three years. For the Nets, winning New York isn't just being the talk of the city. They want to go far outside the five boroughs and gain some steam on the Island.
We've seen marketing pieces that attempt to marry the Nets and Islanders brands. That will come to a fever pitch on Wednesday when the Islanders unveil a new third jersey that will be fashioned in Nets' black-and-white. So it makes plenty of sense that, when Nassau Coliseum reopens in December 2016, it will do so as the home of the Nets' D-League affiliate.
One source told me of this plan as early as 2013, and now with the D-League set to undergo expansion, all the stars are aligning for the Nets to have a permanent presence on Long Island. The Brooklyn campus of Long Island University will be the temporary home, but the new Coliseum will be where the Nets organization sets up its roots.
Time will tell if this push will work, and the Nets can truly grab hold of some new fans in Nassau and Suffolk counties. But one thing is for sure: the Nets having their own D-League team just a handful of miles away will certainly make things easier for the organization. That's why it's been in the works for the better part of three years time.