ERIE, Pa. — Erie will have a professional basketball team for at least two more years as the Atlanta Hawks announced it intends for the Hawks’ new NBA D-League team to play in Erie while a new arena is built in Georgia.
NBA.com reports that the team will play at the Erie Insurance Arena, as the Erie BayHawks, before the team permanently relocates to a newly constructed arena in College Park, Georgia.
The team will play the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons in Erie before moving to their new home in 2019-20.
According to the release, the Atlanta Hawks will partner with the BayHawks’ current management of Matt Bresee, president of the BayHawks, and Owen McCormick, who is a lead local investor in the team.
“We’re thrilled to keep an NBA Development League team in Erie and are looking forward to working with the Atlanta Hawks for what will be the 10th season of BayHawks basketball in 2017-18,” McCormick said in a news release.
The move on Tuesday secures that a pro team will be in Erie for at least two more years after the Orlando Magic purchased the BayHawks in December and announced the team will be relocated to Lakeland, Fla.
The Orlando Magic and the BayHawks recently began the final year of a three-year, single-affiliation hybrid partnership wherein the Magic control the basketball operations and local ownership manages business operations.
Current general manager of the Atlanta Hawks, Wes Wilcox, worked with the BayHawks when the team was affiliated with Cleveland. Atlanta’s director of player personnel, John Treloar, was the first coach of the BayHawks from 2008-10.
“I’m thrilled that the Atlanta Hawks have been able to accelerate their minor league team’s entry into the NBA D-League by playing in Erie while their new home in College Park is being constructed,” said NBA D-League President Malcolm Turner in a news release. “This is a one-of-a-kind partnership in the NBA D-League, and I’m looking forward to watching the Hawks begin their tenure in the NBA D-League in Erie, which has proved to be a terrific NBA D-League market over the last decade.”