The Rockets will name their team Clutch City Gaming, while the Cavaliers will adopt the 100 Thieves brand previously owned by Matthew "Nadeshot" Haag, sources close to both NBA teams told ESPN.
The Houston Rockets and 100 Thieves did not respond to requests for comment. The 100 Thieves brand selection was first reported by Dexerto.
The other NBA-franchise affiliate accepted into the North American League Championship Series, a group led by Golden State Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob and his son, assistant GM Kirk, has yet to select a name, sources said.
NBA rules prevent league franchises from using NBA brands in other sports. The Warriors and Cavaliers will both participate in the NBA 2K League -- which is a partnership between the NBA and Take-Two Interactive -- using names similar to their basketball monikers. That venture, however, will be separate from those participating in League of Legends and other games. The Rockets are not joining the NBA 2K League for the first season.
"Clutch City" is a slogan the city of Houston adopted after a 1994 Houston Chronicle headline that read "Choke City" following two blown home leads by the Houston Rockets to the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Playoffs. The Rockets went on to advance from that series and win the NBA Championship a few weeks later, and the term "Clutch City" was born.
Haag worked with the Cavaliers and venture capital firms owned by Dan Gilbert, as those parties sought to apply for the League of Legends Championship Series in July. The 100 Thieves organization will use resources from several of Gilbert's businesses, including the Cavaliers and Detroit Venture Partners.
100 Thieves, previously used as a Call of Duty team and merchandising brand, will expand into Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, according to a report by Jarek "DeKay" Lewis. That team is working to acquire three players of the former Immortals lineup -- Henrique "HEN1" Teles, Lucas "LUCAS1" Teles and Vito "kNg" Giuseppe -- which would grant it the Legends slot at the ELeague Boston Major in January.
All three NBA-team affiliates were granted franchise slots in October in the North American League of Legends Championship Series. They are among a total of four new teams, along with endemic brand OpTic Gaming, to replace previous league participants, which include Immortals, Team Envy, Phoenix1 and Team Dignitas.