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NBA Development League Enters New Season on Stable Footing

Aaron Brooks
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The stated goal for the NBA Development League is to have one affiliate for every NBA team.  At present the number is 17 D-League squads coupled with 30 NBA franchises.

Many of those relationships are 1-to-1 such as the LA D-Fenders who are owned and operated by the Los Angeles Lakers.  Others take hybrid model as the Miami Heat have done with assuming basketball operations and the Sioux Falls Skyforce continuing local control.

Nonetheless, the NBADL is gaining more credence as a talent pool and a place to groom players until the right situation arises.  For example Houston Guard Aaron Brooks and Heat center Chris “Birdman” Andersen stand as the prime examples of D-League prospects turned into NBA players.

A record amount of player movement was seen last year between the NBA and the D-League.  Even though the minor league squads are in training camp mode now, player movement has already begun with the Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets maneuvering before the ball goes up on November 22.

As the 2013 season begins, a sense of stability reigns supreme in the NBADL with no relocations or cessation of operations.  All teams return from last year’s campaign with the addition of a team in Delaware.  It’s the first time since 2008 that a similar setup occurred.

It’s also apparent that the D-League is in growth mode with either 6 or 8 teams through the first five seasons of its existence.  2006 appears to be the watershed year for the NBADL by grabbing the strongest teams from the CBA like Dakota, Idaho and Sioux Falls plus some expansion teams such as Bakersfield, LA D-Fenders and Colorado.  The 14ers and Wizards have since changed locations to Texas and Santa Cruz respectively.

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