NBA D-League’s Iowa Energy change name to Iowa Wolves

Iowa Wolves logo (Photo from businessrecord.com)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Energy announced a name change Tuesday to the Iowa Wolves, reflecting Minnesota’s recent purchase of the NBA D-League franchise.

The Timberwolves made the announcement at Wells Fargo Arena, the 14,000-seat arena where the franchise has played since its inception in 2007.

With Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau in attendance, the Timberwolves unveiled their new affiliate’s logo and colors. The Wolves’ colors are navy blue and bright green, much like Minnesota’s new identity, with a secondary logo featuring an outline of the state of Iowa and a large “W” in the middle.

The D-League has added 10 teams in the last 30 months and will have a league-record 26 teams in 2017-18, when it will be known as the NBA Gatorade or G-League.

The Wolves will be the second Des Moines-based team to partner with a major league club from the Twin Cities, which is roughly 250 miles north of Iowa’s capital city. The Minnesota Wild’s AHL affiliate, the Iowa Wild, will share the arena with the newly branded basketball team.

“We’ve been looking for the opportunity to partner with a D-League team for some time now,” Minnesota CEO Ethan Casson said. “We found, frankly, that all roads led back to Des Moines.”

The Energy has been affiliated with a number of NBA teams in its decade of existence, including Chicago, Miami, Phoenix and Memphis. In 2011, the team drew record crowds of over 14,000 on its run to the league championship.

But now Iowa will focus exclusively on developing and providing talent for the T-Wolves, which Thibodeau said will allow players to learn the same system he uses in the NBA. Thibodeau also said Minnesota might send its veterans down to Iowa for rehab assignments.

“It’s a place where they can get playing time,” Thibodeau said.