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D-Fenders to rejoin Development League and play home games at Lakers' practice facility

June 9, 2011 |  1:12 pm

After taking a one-year hiatus, the Lakers' minor-league affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders, will return to the NBA Development League, albeit with a change of venue.

The team will play its home games at the Lakers' practice facility, the Toyota Sports Center, in El Segundo, a switch from the previous routine of playing at Staples Center four hours before Lakers regular-season games.

The Times' Mike Bresnahan reported last year that D-Fenders games didn't generate any revenue from ticket sales because only people who had bought Lakers tickets were allowed to attend the games. Bresnahan also noted that the games often took place in front of no more than 100 people, though Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak frequently was in attendance.

During the 2010-2011 season, the Lakers used the Bakersfield Jam as their minor-league affiliate, sending rookies Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter there on separate stints and recalling Trey Johnson before the last game of the regular season. But the Jam also was an affiliate of the Clippers. With the D-Fenders' return, the D-League now features seven teams with lone NBA affiliates.

"We're thrilled to welcome the Los Angeles D-Fenders back to the NBA Development League," NBA D-League President Dan Reed said in a statement. "The Lakers have been an outstanding partner with the NBA D-League for years, and their return further reinforces our growing significance to the NBA -– especially considering they are now one of seven NBA teams with a 'one-to-one' affiliation. We're excited about the terrific fan experience they plan to provide at Toyota Sports Center."

-- Mark Medina

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