The best example of what the new D-League looks like can be seen in the Maine Red Claws, a new team based in Portland.
Their mascot? A lobster named Crusher. Their fan section? The Trap. Want to score free tickets? Be one of the lobster fishermen to catch one of 10 lobsters that the team tagged and threw back into the local waters.
Finding the right cities to play in what is official minor league of the NBA is one of the biggest keys to ensuring its future and the Portland team is the perfect example.
When former Boston Celtics assistant coach Jon Jennings was presented with the opportunity to own an D-League team, he traveled across the Northeast and arrived in Maine and found the perfect home.
A state without any professional sports teams, a state that is fanatic about high school basketball and a city in Portland that has embraced its minor league baseball team (the Sea Dogs) was ideal, Jennings said.
The team hasn't played its first game yet, but the Red Claws already lead the league in season ticket revenue. Jennings said they have sold 1,432 season tickets for home games in their 3,100-seat arena.
The team's innovative logo, blindly submitted by a company in Cincinnati in exchange for a single jersey, has put them at the top of the merchandise rankings.
And the Red Claws have scored 60 sponsorships from community businesses who are helping to get the word out about the team. The most creative deals are with a bakery called Isamax and with a beer company called Gritty's.