Chicago Bulls say they'd promote Sears Centre big time with D-team

A Chicago Bulls-affiliated NBA Development League team would bring to Hoffman Estates' Sears Centre Arena all the energetic promotion the parent team does to Chicago's United Center, Bulls President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Reinsdorf said Monday.

“There's a lot of Chicago Bulls fans out here in the suburbs,” Reinsdorf told Hoffman Estates village board members. “We're going to treat this team the same way we treat the big-league team.”

Village trustees, meeting as the finance committee, unanimously recommended approval of a lease agreement at the Sears Centre pending finalization of the details later this week.

The only aspects of the agreement still incomplete are the clauses regarding indemnity and insurance, Village Attorney Art Janura said.

Trustees expect to get the finalized agreement Thursday in preparation for their vote on final approval next Monday, Nov. 9. Only after that approval would the financial details of the lease be made public, Janura said.

Meanwhile, the fledgling minor-league team plans to hit the ground running, organizing a team-naming contest soon, Reinsdorf said.

Though the organization prefers that the Bulls name be part of the D-League affiliate's, the rest would be up to the fans — particularly the contest winner, he added.

The D-League has been around for about a decade, but there's a growing trend for NBA teams to own affiliates, Reinsdorf said. Furthermore, there's an increasing desire for such D-League teams to play in the same market as their parent organizations.

Every team in the NBA now has at least one former D-League player on it, with Aaron Brooks being the example from the Bulls, Reinsdorf said.

Though D-League teams remain largely stable over the course of a season, they may gain or lose a few players to NBA teams. In either case, fans are watching players of a high level, he added.

The Bulls-affiliate would play 24 home games a season at the Sears Centre, from mid-November to early April. The pending lease is for five years with the possibility of renewals for up to 15 more years.

Under the lease agreement, the D-League team's front office also would be housed at the Sears Centre.

Bulls-affiliated team may play at Sears Centre next year

Michael Reinsdorf
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