Red Claws ready to play with or without NBA season

This morning we’ve got a story about how the NBA owners and players reached an early morning agreement to end their 149-day lockout and perhaps tip off the season on Christmas Day.

Assuming the league’s franchise owners and its players union officially ratify the contract, the NBA season will begin on Dec. 25 with a triple-header including a Boston Celtics-New York Knicks game.

This story is good news for sports fans at large, but I don’t have to tell Portlanders that their hometown basketball team — they with the storefront right next to City Hall — would be taking the court with or without an agreement in place to start the larger NBA season.

As a D-League (the “D” stands for “Developmental” and the league is a grooming ground for players working to make the half-step up to the NBA, not unlike a minor league baseball team) franchise, the Red Claws season was slated to get underway on Thursday no matter what happened between the bigger association’s players and owners.

The Portland Red Claws home opener is a week from today at the Portland Expo at 7 p.m. Former NBA star Donyell Marshall is now on the team as an assistant coach, and players to watch in 2011-12 include returning forward Paul Harris and Chris Wright, who averaged almost a double-double last year at the University of Dayton, among others.

The Red Claws are affiliated with the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Charlotte Bobcats — sort of like how their neighbor Portland Sea Dogs are affiliated with the major league Boston Red Sox.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.