The Erie BayHawks are ceasing operations after not being able to find a new NBA affiliate to continue their membership in the NBA G League.
“Erie Basketball Management, LLC, the management company of the Erie BayHawks, today announced they will cease operations in the coming weeks due to not having a team to play in Erie next season,” the team said in a press release Thursday morning.
“We’ve made the determination that we will cease operations in the coming weeks due to not being unable to find another NBA partner, or other adequate opportunity, to keep G League basketball in Erie,” the release said. “This result is merely a reflection of the changing landscape of the NBA as many teams prefer their G League affiliate be located nearby, and Erie simply is not positioned geographically to provide that.
“While we’re saddened by this for our fans and the Erie community, we are deeply appreciative of the tremendous support the BayHawks received over the past 13 years. The Erie region can be proud of the history the BayHawks made and the role that Erie played for the NBA during our years in the NBA Development League and NBA G League. We are truly grateful for the community’s amazing support and the fond memories made.”
The Erie BayHawks made their debut during the 2008-09 season in what was then called the NBA Development League. It was later called the D League and is now the NBA G League.
Throughout the franchise’s history, the team has been affiliated seven NBA teams: Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Pelicans. This season’s team also shared operations with the Washington Wizards.
However, their affiliation with the Hawks and Pelicans were only temporary arrangements that hinged upon the NBA franchises’ completion of new facilities where their G League team would play permanently closer to their NBA base.
Erie BayHawks officials scrambled two secure the Hawks affiliation after the Orlando Magic relocated the team to Lakeland, Florida, before the 2017-18 season.
The BayHawks played the abbreviated 2020-21 G League season as a Pelicans affiliate in a bubble at Orlando, Florida. Erie Insurance Arena had not hosted a G League game since March 2020 before the COVID-19 shutdown.
BayHawks owner Owen McCormick announced in January that he was going to continue to pursue an NBA G League affiliate even though NBA trends had made that a seemingly insurmountable challenge. In recent seasons, more NBA teams had purchased — or made agreements with — G League teams closer in proximity to their NBA markets.
As a result, Erie had few options since the Cavaliers, 76ers, Detroit Pistons and Raptors — the closest NBA franchises to Erie — already had teams.
Thursday’s announcement came after BayHawks officials had exhausted those efforts to secure another NBA affiliate.