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Nets Taking Over Springfield Armor

When word first came that Mikhail Prokhorov wanted to upgrade basketball operations, one of the early ideas floated by Bobby Marks was a takeover of the Nets' D-League affiliate, the Springfield Armor.  The proposal languished for a time, but now the deal is done, the Nets announced Thursday.

Beginning in 2011-12, the Armor and the Nets will enter into a "single affiliation partnership" giving the Nets control over the Armor's basketball operations while picking up the tab.  That "tab", an initial investment, is $250,000. The team will still be owned by Michael Savit, who also owns minor league baseball teams, but run by the Nets, who will hire a GM and coach. The team plays at the MassMutual Center near the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The deal will give the Nets a "farm team" to monitor and develop talent. A new NBA rule permits teams to keep the last players they cut on their D-League affiliate's roster. However, the Nets won't own exclusive rights to those players. They can sign with other NBA teams, much like players from NFL practice squads can sign with rival teams. Historically, the Nets' D-League experience has been among the NBA's worst.