The Reno Bighorns and Managing Owner Herb Santos Jr. formally announced a renewed hybrid partnership with the Sacramento Kings at a press conference Wednesday afternoon in the Eldorado Showroom.
The partnership between the Kings and their NBA Developmental League affiliate is renewed one year at a time.
Santos Jr., who has been a managing partner of the team since 2011, used his time at the podium to point out numerous accomplishments made by the organization last season including sending numerous players to the NBA, sending coaches to four different NBA franchises, and an international media reach of an estimated 91.5 million people—a number propelled by scoring nearly 130 points a game using “The System.”
“The System” is obviously an offensive-oriented philosophy focused largely on aggressively crashing the offensive glass the immediately going into full-court press after each made basket.
The highlight of the event, however, was the formal introduction of new Bighorns’ General Manager, Peja Stojakovic.
Stojakovic spent 13 years (three-time all-star) in the NBA before retiring at the conclusion of the 2010-11 season, finishing with a 17 points per game career average. The 6-10 small forward out of Yugoslavia was drafted 14th overall in the 1996 NBA draft by Sacramento, where he played the first seven years of his NBA career.
He also had stints with Indiana, New Orleans, Toronto and Dallas—winning an NBA title with the Mavericks in 2011.
“What he (Stojakovic) will provide to the players and coaches will only make the Reno Bighorns that much more competitive and exciting,” Santos Jr. said.
Stojakovic joins a long list of former athletes attempting to transition to the front office. The former all-star said he believes his lengthy professional career will ease the merger.
“I was involved with basketball for more than 20 years and I believe I can use my experience and my knowledge and share it with younger people and give them good advice,” Stojakovic said. “I do have an idea how to assess talent. I’m more of an old school guy. Once you see a player, once you see the way he plays, you can figure out a way how to use him.”
Stojakovic will also serve as a Director of Player Personnel and Development for the Kings.
The renewal of the Kings’ and Bighorns’ partnership came one week after the United Soccer League awarded Reno the league’s 28th franchise. Reno’s first professional soccer team will make its debut in the spring of 2017.
“We’re really excited about continuing partnerships such as the Sacramento Kings’ and the Reno Bighorns’,” Reno Assistant City Manager Kate Thomas said. “It just gives our community the chance to see future NBA stars as they develop their skills right here in the biggest little city.”
Thomas filled in for Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve who was unable to attend. A City Council meeting at the same time held priority.
The Bighorns 2015-16 season starts Friday Nov. 13 at home (Reno Events Center) against the Los Angeles Lakers affiliate at 7 p.m.
Reno missed the 2014-15 playoffs after going 20-30, good for third place in the West Division of the Western Conference.
For more information about the Bighorns upcoming season, fans are encouraged to text ‘myrenobighorns’ to 22828.