The Maine Red Claws, the Celtics D-League affiliate, wear red and white. But tonight, when they take the floor for their home opener, they will be wearing the Celtics' green and white. This season, unlike in the past, the Celtics are the only NBA affiliate with the Red Claws. The Celtics have taken over basketball operations for the team and the coach runs the Celtics system for the team.
So, when they take the court for their first home game tonight, the Red Claws will be honoring that new relationship by wearing the traditional Celtics' green and white. And, as luck would have it, their opponents will be wearing the purple and gold of the Celtics most storied rivalas they will be playing the LA D-Fenders, the affiliate of the LA Lakers. The first 1,000 fans to arrive at the game will receive "Beat LA" T-shirts.
There's another big tie to the Celtics for the home opener as well. The honorary captain for the Red Claws tonight is former Celtics great Dave Cowens. The situation this season where the Red Claws are more closely related to the Celtics and where the Celtics are in charge of basketball operations there, is a benefit for both teams and the Red Claws are going to use that this year in their marketing, as we can see from their opening night plan.
In previous years, when a player was sent to the D-League they played in a completely different system than they played in with the Celtics. They got experience, but it didn't help them learning the offense or defense of their parent club. This season, when the Celtics send players to Portland to gain experience, those players see the same coaching style they got in Boston. The players develop their game with returning to the Celtics in mind.
The D-League can be used for rehab assignments as well as developing young players. Avery Bradley, who is very close to returning from two shoulder surgeries may go to Maine for a couple of games to work his way back to playing again. Having the same system there makes this possible and beneficial.
The Red Claws (or Green Claws for a night) will host their home opener tonight at 7:00. This season all of the D-League games are streamed live on YouTube. You can access the game on their website here.