The Grand Rapids Drive have opted out of the 2020-21 NBA G League season set to take place in a bubble environment in Orlando, Florida. This means the Detroit Pistons will not have an affiliated team to send rookies and two-way players to the G League and functionally ends its relationship with the Drive, which was set to expire at the conclusion of the season.
The Pistons previously purchased a G League team from Phoenix with the intent to relocate them to the City of Detroit. The Drive had no interest in relocating and said in their announcement they are committed to the Grand Rapids area. The team also says it will be working on a new affiliate announcement which will be revealed at a later date.
“Our team remains committed to Grand Rapids,” said Ben Wallace, a co-owner of the Grand Rapids Drive and former Pistons great. “A new affiliate announcement may mean a new team name and logo, but this is home and we’re looking forward to sharing more details about our future soon as decisions are finalized with both our new affiliate and the NBA.”
So far, 17 G League teams and the new G League Ignite squad have opted to participate in the Orlando bubble with the rest of the franchises opting out. It was an open secret that the Pistons were not taking part in the G League this season, and with buy-in into the bubble reportedly costing teams up to $500,000, it’s no surprise that the Drive are not participating.
The NBA has relaxed rules on how much time two-way players are able to play and practice with their NBA teams so the plan appears to have Saben Lee and recently acquired Frank Jackson work out and practice throughout the season in Detroit with the Pistons.
Detroit’s new team, the Motor City Cruise, will debut during the 2021-22 season and play in a new $25 million complex on the western edge of the Wayne State University campus.