Rockets taking over Vipers

McALLEN, Texas -- The Houston Rockets are taking over basketball operations of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in what it says is the first partnership of its kind with an NBA Developmental League team.

The move will give the Rockets control over the players assigned to the D-League team and the final say on staff hirings, coaching decisions and even the schemes used in games. But the Vipers will still be locally owned by a group headed by Alonzo Cantu, and the group will continue to oversee business operations.

The Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder own D-League affiliates and have total control over the teams' basketball and business operations. Other teams operate independently and serve as affiliates for multiple NBA teams, while reserving the right to hire their own staffs and run their own systems.

"This unique partnership with the Vipers affords us the opportunity to take an increased role in the development of our young players while also introducing an exciting and competitive brand of NBA-style basketball to fans in the Rio Grande Valley," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said Monday.

The Rockets will host an exhibition game against the Boston Celtics on Oct. 7 in Hidalgo, marking the first time an NBA D-League team has hosted a parent club for any part of training camp.