The Santa Cruz Warriors will open up the 2017-18 season against former head coach Casey Hill and the Agua Caliente Clippers on Nov. 3. in Ontario, Calif., the league announced on Thursday.
The season-opening reunion with Hill will also serve as Aaron Miles’ head coaching debut. Miles, who was formally introduced on Tuesday, filled the Warriors’ coaching vacancy after Hill stepped down following the conclusion of last season.
Hill was the head coach of the Warriors for four seasons, taking the team to the playoffs three times and winning a championship during the 2014-15 campaign. In total, he was with the organization for seven years, serving as an assistant under Nate Bjorkgren for three seasons prior to becoming the lead man.
A former assistant at Florida Gulf Coast University for one season, Miles was handpicked as Hill’s successor by both S.C. and Golden State Warriors’ brass last month.
The start of the G League season, which was pushed up 10 days earlier than last season’s, will also mark the debut of six new franchises: Erie BayHawks (Atlanta Hawks), Lakeland Magic (Orlando Magic), Memphis Hustle (Memphis Grizzlies), South Bay Lakers (Los Angeles Lakers), Wisconsin Herd (Milwaukee Bucks) and the Clippers (L.A. Clippers).
The influx of new teams also called for the restructuring of the conferences and divisions in the G League. The Warriors will still play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference. The Clippers and Lakers are new additions to the Pacific Division, which retains the Northern Arizona Suns, Reno Bighorns and the Warriors from last season.
Santa Cruz will play each Pacific Division team four times — twice at home and twice on the road — and will also play the remaining Western Conference teams three times apiece. In total, they will play 40 games within their conference.
The Warriors will play the Lakers in their home opener on Nov. 4. It will be one of 24 home games at Kaiser Permanente Arena this season.
The Warriors’ longest homestand of the season is a six-game stretch over 14 days starting on Jan. 17.
Santa Cruz will play seven back-to-back sets, including a regular-season closing set against the Iowa Wolves and Reno Bighorns at home.
Santa Cruz also made some roster moves on Thursday, sending the returning player rights to LaDontae Henton to the Clippers for the returning player rights to Damion Lee from the Maine Red Claws in a three-team trade. The Red Claws, meanwhile, received the returning player rights to Bryce Cotton and a 2017 second-round pick in this year’s G League Draft from the Clippers.
The University of Louisville product started 16 games for the Red Claws last season and averaged 17.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 34.1 minutes per game before being cut following a season-ending injury.
Henton was a key rotation player for Santa Cruz in its late run to the playoffs last season. He averaged 13.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in 35 games played, including 17 starts.