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Stars offseason full of changes

Oct 06, 2017 10:57AM ● Published by Greg James

Jazz guard Alec Burks has spent time on the floor for the Salt Lake City Stars. The Stars are set for their second season in Taylorsville. (Paul Asay/Salt Lake City Stars)

The Salt Lake Stars are members of a new league, sort of.

The NBA development league or D League; will now be known as the NBA Gatorade league, or G League. The league has long been a testing ground for the NBA. The G league is about the future of creating the next level of sports performance. 

Gatorade is now the official sponsor for the NBA’s official minor league. The leagues job is to prepare players, coaches, officials, trainers and front office staff for the NBA while acting as the league’s research and development laboratory.

The G League features 26 teams, all with affiliations to NBA franchises. It is a family-friendly and affordable alternative to the NBA.

This league expanded by four teams this year. It added the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (LA Clippers), Erie Bay Hawks (Atlanta Hawks), Memphis Hustle (Memphis Grizzlies) and Wisconsin Herd (Milwaukee Bucks).

Beginning this season, NBA rosters expanded to 17 players. The two additional roster spots can be players with two-way contracts. These contracts allow players to spend the majority of the season with the G League team and not more than 45 days with their NBA team. 

All Salt Lake City Stars games during the 2017–18 season stream on Facebook Live. The games can be found at Facebook.com/NBAGleague.

The Stars’ roster is filled with players on different paths they hope end up on an NBA team. They can be returning players, affiliate players, local tryout players or free agents. Unlike Major League Baseball, a majority of G League players are available for any of the 30 NBA teams to sign. League players have signed contracts with the league and not an individual team; by NBA standards they are technically free agents.

The G League hosts its showcase Jan. 10–13 in Mississauga, Ontario. The showcase highlights every G League team in one arena. The four day, 26-game event features all 26 league teams playing two regular season games. This is the leagues primary in-season scouting event. Personnel from all 30 NBA teams are expected to be in attendance. 

The League is scheduled to tip off its season Nov. 3. The Stars begin the season on the road at Austin, Texas. Their first home game is scheduled for Nov. 8 against a new franchise, the Wisconsin Herd.

Each team will play 24 road and 24 home games. The Stars host their games at The Salt Lake Community College Lifetime Activities Center on its Taylorsville campus.

The Stars have been moved to the Western Conference’s Southwest Division. Their competitors are the Austin Spurs, Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Texas Legends.

The Stars were scheduled to host an open tryout for prospective players Sept. 30 (after press deadline).

On Aug. 22, Jonathan Rinehart was named team president for the Stars. He is a 12-year veteran of the Utah Jazz. His responsibilities include ticket sales, corporate partnerships, marketing efforts, community relations and in-game entertainment. 

Bart Sharp, who served as the Stars General Manager last season, has been appointed as the senior vice president of marketing for the Utah Jazz.

Rinehart joined the Jazz organization in 2005 and has worked as vice president of communications for the past three seasons. He is also organizer of the Utah Jazz Summer League.

The Stars finished last season with a record of 14-36 in fifth place in the Western Conference Pacific Division. They lost their last 10 games of the regular season.

The Stars’ new head coach is Martin Schiller. He had previously been and assistant coach in the German Bundesliga for the last two years.

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