G League OKC Blue to play home games at Thunder's Paycom Center

Joe Mussatto
Oklahoman

Oklahoma City’s Paycom Center will host Thunder and Blue doubleheaders this season with the Blue moving across the street to play all of its home games at the NBA arena.

The Blue’s 50-game G League schedule was released Tuesday, and it includes 15 home games scheduled on the same day as a Thunder home game

The first twin billing is Sunday Nov. 7, when the Blue will host the Salt Lake City Stars at 11 a.m., and the Thunder will host the San Antonio Spurs at 6 p.m. The Blue’s season opener is two days earlier, Nov. 5, also against the Stars at Paycom Center. 

The Blue was forced to find a new home after Prairie Surf Media took over the downtown Cox Convention Center, where the Blue had played since the 2014-15 season after relocating and rebranding from the Tulsa 66ers. 

The film studio, steps away from Paycom Center, began production earlier this year. 

The new Paycom Center logo on the downtown Oklahoma City arena Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Oklahoma City, Okla. Paycom now has the arena's new naming rights agreement.

Rather than finding an altogether new home, the Blue is moving in with its parent club. The Blue will be the only G League team to play all of its home games at an NBA arena. 

The Fort Wayne Mad Ants will play nine home games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, home of the Pacers. The G League affiliates of the Cavaliers, Jazz and Raptors will all play one home game at their organization’s NBA arena. 

Seventeen of the Blue’s 24 home games will be played at either 11 a.m. or noon — with all but two of those dates coinciding with a Thunder game later that night. 

The G League announced a new schedule format for this season. 

Every team’s first 14 games will be part of the Showcase Cup, a tournament which will be played from Nov. 5 to Dec. 22. 

Teams will be separated into four regional pods. The Blue is in the West Region with Agua Caliente (Clippers), Salt Lake City (Jazz), Santa Cruz (Warriors), South Bay (Lakers), Stockton (Kings) and the G League Ignite. 

The teams with the best winning percentage in each pod, plus the next four best teams across the league, will advance to the Showcase Cup. 

After the Showcase Cup, every team will play a 36-game regular season schedule for a total of 50 games. 

The Blue is coached by Grant Gibbs, who led the Thunder’s Summer League team. 

The Blue went 8-7 last season, with all games played in the Orlando bubble.