The Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League announced Monday that they have signed a three-year contract extension to remain the Boston Celtics' lone affiliate.
The two teams have worked together since Maine's inaugural 2009-10 season and entered into a hybrid affiliation in 2012, which made Maine Boston's lone affiliate and gave control of Maine's basketball operations to the Celtics.
"We couldn’t be more excited to continue our relationship with Bill Ryan and the Red Claws,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a statement released by both teams. “Maine is full of die-hard Celtics fans, and we hear all the time from both NBA and D-League players that the environment at the Portland Expo is the best in the D-League. There simply is no better place than Maine for our young players to gain valuable experience against top-level competition, and we expect several of them will take advantage of this opportunity again this year and in the years to come."
The Celtics have a young roster this year that includes three incoming rookies in Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter and Jordan Mickey. Last year, 2014 first-round pick James Young got extended reps in Maine.
The Red Claws enjoyed their best season in team history last year while posting a 35-15 record. Since 2009, the team notes that 15 Celtics players have suited up for the Red Claws.
"We are thrilled to extend our relationship with the Celtics,” said Red Claws chairman Bill Ryan. “Since they have taken control of our basketball operations, we have made the playoffs in two out of three years. We have created a great partnership and look forward to that continuing with the Celtics into the future.”
Since Brad Stevens took over as head coach of the Celtics two seasons ago, the team has focused on creating more synergy with the Red Claws. That included having Maine coach Scott Morrison around the Celtics whenever possible, including during the preseason when Boston brings in additional camp bodies they hope to funnel to Maine. Morrison, the D-League's Coach of the Year last season, also runs a system similar to Stevens' that makes it easy to plug-and-play assignees.
Boston has invited four players that could potentially end up in Maine as assigned players in Malcolm Miller (Holy Cross), Corey Walden (Eastern Kentucky), Coty Clarke (Arkansas), and Levi Randolph (Alabama).
Before Maine, the Celtics had a long-distance affiliation with the Utah Flash.