Dakota Wizards leaving Bismarck
BISMARCK (AP) — The City Council in Santa Cruz, Calif., has voted to finalize a deal with the Golden State Warriors that will enable the franchise to move its NBA Development League team from North Dakota.
The Dakota Wizards have called the state capital of Bismarck home for nearly two decades. The team was bought last year by the Warriors, an NBA team based about 70 miles north of Santa Cruz in Oakland, Calif., though the team plans a move to San Francisco.
The Santa Cruz City Council early Wednesday voted unanimously to approve a $3.5 million loan to build a 30,000-square-foot arena that will be ready for next season. The facility will seat 2,725 for the team’s 25 annual games from December to April and 4,000 for concerts in the offseason, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported.
Both Bismarck and Santa Cruz have about 60,000 people, according to U.S. census data.
“Santa Cruz, at its soul, can be the best minor league market,” said Wizards President Jim Weyermann.
The D-League still must approve the team’s relocation. That is little more than a formality, Kirk Lacob, assistant general manager of the Warriors, told The Bismarck Tribune.
“We’ve been dealing with the league the whole time, getting their tacit approval,” Lacob said. “They want to do things like make sure the facility will be up to standards and know how it is being seen by the local community ... Their main concern is whether this will work for basketball, and we’ve shown them that every answer is ‘yes.’”
The Wizards can buy out the one remaining year on their lease at the Bismarck Civic Center for just $40,000.
The Wizards have won four championships in three different leagues — the International Basketball Association, the Continental Basketball Association and the D-League.
“We would again like to thank the city and fans in Bismarck for everything they accomplished and did for us and the team,” Lacob said. “It will not be forgotten.”