March 31, 2017

NEW ORLEANS (AP) New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson says he plans to own and operate a team in the NBA Development League.

Benson, who made the announcement Friday, says he's been impressed by the NBADL's growth and that the Pelicans' goal is to have their minor league club based ''in nearby proximity to our home base of New Orleans.''

The Pelicans say they're considering cities in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to host the new minor league club, which would be a direct affiliate of New Orleans' NBA franchise.

The team would begin play in the 2018-19 season, when the NBADL will be called the NBA Gatorade League.

The Pelicans currently are not among the 22 NBA clubs which have direct NBADL affiliates.

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