After 10 years in Tulsa, and after the loss of their lease with the SpiritBank Event Center in Bixby, the Oklahoma City Thunder announced that their NBA Development League affiliate will move to Oklahoma City permanently beginning with the 2014-15 season.
“Our two seasons in Bixby were successful and we were pleased to be there, but circumstances beyond our control made it necessary to look for a new home for our Development League team,” said Danny Barth, executive vice president and chief administrative officer of the Thunder.
In ten seasons in Tulsa, the 66ers posted a 220-228 record. The team was purchased in 2008 by Professional Basketball, LLC. The owners of the Thunder. Prior to arriving in Tulsa in 2005 the team won back-to-back NBA D-League championships in 2003 and 2004 as the Asheville Altitude, and went to the playoffs three times as the 66ers in 2010, 2011 and 2013, reaching the finals in 2010 where they lost to Rio Grande.
Several players from the 66ers went on to play for the thunder on temporary contracts, including a current member of the Thunder bench roster, Perry Jones III.
The move of the 66ers is subject to NBA D-League approval.
Thunder officials are currently in discussions with the City of Oklahoma City to play the team’s 24 regular-season home games at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City, directly across the street from Chesapeake Energy Arena. Along with the move of the team, the business and basketball operations of the D-League team will also relocate to Oklahoma City. The team will train at the Thunder Community Events Center in Edmond, the original training home of the Thunder from 2008-11.
Despite the move, the Oklahoma City Thunder remain committed to Tulsa and promoting the growth of basketball in the Tulsa area.
“Through our ticket and merchandise sales and TV ratings, we know the Thunder has tremendous, loyal and passionate fans in the Tulsa area,” Barth said. “We will continue to devote our attention and resources to sustaining and growing that support.”