by Russell Preston, Sports 1140 KHTK

SACRAMENTO, CA (KHTK1140) — The Sacramento Kings and Reno Bighorns have always had a good relationship being an affiliation as a storied NBA franchise and a young D-League team. With a new group of owners, their partnership became even stronger.

The Kings announced the purchase of the controlling interest in the Bighorns franchise, after being affiliated with one another since the 2008-09 season. As of Thursday, the Kings are now the 15th NBA franchise to own and operate its own developmental league team.

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“I’m thrilled to welcome Vivek Ranadivé and the Sacramento Kings’ ownership group to the NBA D-League family and want to thank Herb Santos for his integral role in Bighorns basketball,” said NBA D-League President Malcolm Turner in a press release.

In the 2013-14 season, the two teams entered into an exclusive, single-affiliation partnership where the Kings would control the basketball operations. Due to the new purchase, the Kings will now control all business and basketball operations from here on out.

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From the Kings’ press release:

“We’re excited to deepen our relationship with the Bighorns and the Reno/Tahoe community,” said Kings owner and chairman Vivek Ranadivé. “This is an incredible opportunity to develop players, front-office staff and future business executives for the Sacramento Kings, while simultaneously contributing meaningfully to the Reno entertainment, commercial and non-profit ecosystem.”

Peja Stojakovic, who was appointed the general manager of basketball operations last year by Kings GM Vlade Divac, said in a Kings interview he’s excited for the organization and looks forward to getting players to the next level and developing new talent.

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Reno has served as an excellent way to find young players, to help NBA players rehab from injuries and to groom coaches looking for a shot at the NBA. Current Kings coach Dave Joerger was once a coach in the D-League, while NBA players Hassan Whiteside, Jeremy Lin and Danny Green have all spent time in a Bighorns uniform.