NBA Affiliates In Review
by Matthew Brennan, D-League.com
In a few months, the D-League will enter its third season using the NBA Affiliation system. Each team in the D-League has one to three NBA affiliates who are permitted to assign players in their first or second seasons to the D-League. Players can be assigned up to the three times a season for any length of time.
Listed here are the new affiliations for the 2007-08 season, along with a list of eligible players who are currently listed on each NBA roster (rosters as of August 13, 2007, including free agents and unsigned rookies). In the past two years, a total of 48 different players have been assigned to the D-League by 26 different NBA teams. Ersan Ilyasova, formerly of the Milwaukee Bucks, has played the most D-League games on assignment (46 during the 2005-06 season with Tulsa) while Cleveland's Shannon Brown and New Orleans Hornet Brandon Bass made the shortest cameos in the D-League, playing in one game each. When it comes to teams, the Dallas Mavericks have been the most active when it comes to assignments, sending six different players to the D-League, while the Clippers, Knicks, Kings and Pacers are the only teams that have never assigned a player.
(Number of players/D-League games played)
Atlanta: 1 player, 29 games
The T-Birds will retain Phoenix, add Philadelphia, and drop Cleveland as NBA affiliates. Last season, the Thunderbirds only saw a handful of games out of Cleveland assignees Dwayne Jones and Shannon Brown, who both excelled in their brief D-League cameos. Phoenix did not assign any players to the D-League last season. The 2006-07 D-League Rookie of the Year Louis Amundson is eligible to be assigned by the 76ers, who assigned Louis Williams and Bobby Jones in early December.
The Arsenal retain the Clippers and the Magic as affiliates, and add the Atlanta Hawks. Last season the Magic sent James Augustine to the Arsenal, while the Clippers and the Hawks were both quiet on the assignment front. In fact, the Clippers are one of four teams that have never assigned a player to the D-League in two seasons, although they have been very active when it comes to GATORADE Call-Ups.
Los Angeles Clippers: Will Conroy, Paul Davis, Jared Jordan, Al Thornton
Orlando Magic: James Augustine, Milovan Rakovic, J.J. Redick
Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford, Solomon Jones, Acie Law, Shelden Williams
With the purchase of the team by the Spurs, San Antonio will become the sole affiliate of the Toros. San Antonio's veteran lineup makes it unlikely that many players will be assigned to Austin this season.
The Jam will keep the same affiliates as last season, retaining the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings. Warriors center Patrick O'Bryant was the only NBA player who made the trip down I-5 to play in the D-League last season. He was the highest drafted player to be assigned to the D-League last season after being selected ninth overall.
The 14ers will also retain the same affiliates as last year, with the Nuggets, New Jersey Nets, and Toronto Raptors all eligible to assign players. Each team sent one player to the 14ers in their first D-League season with limited results, as Julius Hodge (Nuggets) was traded, P.J. Tucker (Raptors) was released, and Mile Ilic (Nets) suffered an ankle injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
The Wizards will retain their NBA namesake the Washington Wizards, and add the Memphis Grizzlies in place of the Chicago Bulls. Dakota and the Memphis Grizzlies will not be lacking in communication, as former Wizards head coach Dave Joerger is now an assistant coach on Marc Iavaroni's staff in Memphis. The Grizzlies assigned Alexander Johnson to the D-League for a short time last year, but recently cut ties with the center who was selected in the second round of the 2006 Draft. Washington did not assign any players to the D-League last season, but GATORADE Call-Up Mike Hall could return to the team for next season.
Fort Wayne Mad Ants
The Mad Ants will be affiliated with the Pistons and the Pacers in their first D-League season. Detroit has been one of the most active teams when it comes to D-League assignments, as Amir Johnson spent extensive time in the D-League during his first two professional seasons. The Pacers are yet to assign a player to the D-League, although that could change with the Mad Ants playing only a short distance from Indianapolis.
The Stampede will retain the SuperSonics as an affiliate and add the Portland Trail Blazers in place of the Utah Jazz. Will Kevin Durant and Greg Oden suit up together for the Stampede? Not likely, but it is a possibility. The Trail Blazers and the Sonics are no strangers to assigning lottery picks to the D-League, as Martell Webster became the highest drafted player (6th overall) to be assigned when he played eight games for Fort Worth in 2006. The Sonics had Mouhamed Sene spend plenty of time with the Stampede last season, as the 10th overall pick in the 2006 Draft played in 15 D-League games.
Seattle Supersonics: Andre Brown, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Mickael Gelabale, Mouhamed Sene.
Portland Trail Blazers: LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Fernandez, Taurean Green, Petteri Koponen, Josh McRoberts, Greg Oden, Sergio Rodriguez, Brandon Roy
The Energy will have the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls as affiliates in their inaugural D-League season. Both teams were quiet on the assignment front last season, as Chicago's Martynas Andriuskevicius was the only player to make the trip, playing three games with the Dakota Wizards.
Los Angeles D-Fenders
The D-Fenders are owned by the Lakers and will serve as the their affiliate for their second season of operation. Jordan Farmar made history last season when he became the first player to play in a D-League and NBA game in the same day. Farmar ended up making the switch between locker rooms at STAPLES Center three different times late in the season.
Rio Grande Valley Vipers
The Vipers will pick up the Cavaliers, the Houston Rockets, and New Orleans Hornets as their three affiliates. The Hornets and the Cavaliers have both assigned three different players to the D-League, including Shannon Brown's one-game appearance with Albuquerque last season. Houston has not been very active with assignments, but their roster includes former D-League players Rafer Alston, Chuck Hayes, and John Lucas.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Shannon Brown, Daniel Gibson
Houston Rockets:Aaron Brooks, Carl Landry, Brad Newley, Steve Novak
New Orleans Hornets: Hilton Armstrong, Adam Haluska, Cedric Simmons, Marcus Vinicius, Julian Wright
Sioux Falls Skyforce
The Skyforce will retain the Timberwolves with the Charlotte Bobcats will replace the Pistons as their second affiliate. The Skyforce reaped the benefits of NBA assigned players last year as Amir Johnson and Will Blalock starred for Sioux Falls during their run to the playoffs. Minnesota's Bracey Wright led the D-League in scoring with 22.0 points while on assignment to the Florida Flame during the 2005-06 season. Ryan Hollins became the Bobcats' first assigned player when he played in five D-League games last season.
The 66ers will retain the Bucks and the Knicks as affiliates, and add the Dallas Mavericks in place of the Hornets. The Mavericks have been at the forefront when it comes to assigning players to the D-League, sending six different players including 2007 D-League All-Star Game MVP Pops Mensah-Bonsu and two-time D-League Performer of the Week Jose Barea. The Bucks had Ersan Ilyasova spend nearly an entire season with Tulsa in 2005-06, and also assigned Damir Markota to extensive time with the 66ers last season. The New York Knicks have not assigned a player to the D-League in the first two years of affiliations.
Milwaukee Bucks: Lynn Greer, Ersan Ilyasova (FA), Yi Jianlan, Damir Markota, David Noel, Ramon Sessions
New York Knicks: Renaldo Balkman, Mardy Collins, Randolph Morris, Demetris Nichols
Dallas Mavericks: Maurice Ager, Jose Barea, Nick Fazekas, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Renaldas Seibutis, Reyshawn Terry
The Flash will be affiliated with the Utah Jazz and the Boston Celtics in their first D-League season. The Jazz and the Celtics both have utilized the D-League to develop their young draft picks, with both Gerald Green and CJ Miles seeing time away from their NBA clubs. With the new Big Three in Boston expected to take up plenty of floor time, don't be surprised if Boston sends some of their younger players west.