NBA D-League To Enter Eighth Season With 16 Teams

NBA Announces Affiliates For Expanded Development League

Milwaukee's Ramon Sessions is one of many NBA players to achieve success after being assigned to the D-League.
Randy Belice/NBAE/Getty Images

NEW YORK, June 11, 2008 – The National Basketball Association announced today the affiliation system for the 2008-09 NBA Development League season. Each NBA team has one NBA D-League affiliate to which it may assign players in their first or second NBA season.

“Three years into the assignment system, we are thrilled with the way NBA teams have embraced the opportunity to develop their players in our league,” said Dan Reed, NBA D-League President. "An impressive 27 NBA teams have assigned 76 players to their NBA D-League affiliate to this point, which not only benefits the teams and the players, but gives fans an opportunity to watch top prospects play and improve their games. We expect these numbers to grow as the relationships between NBA teams and their NBA D-League affiliates continue to flourish.”

With the NBA D-League expanding by two teams -- Erie, Penn. and Reno, Nev. -- for the upcoming season, the league will feature 16 teams. The 2008-09 season will be the first in which each NBA D-League team is affiliated with a maximum of two NBA teams.

"Having our fans be able to watch games with some of the young players we may happen to have with the Erie BayHawks from our team, we can create an even greater fan base,” said Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry. “It's a great thing. From a basketball standpoint, we'll be able to come and watch games and support the guys we have here and also be able to scout players. Other than the NBA, this is probably the most scouted professional league in the world."

The affiliation system for the 2008-09 NBA D-League season features several noteworthy storylines:

- The San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers remain the only NBA franchises to own their own NBA D-League teams -- the Austin Toros and L.A. D-Fenders, respectively. Each squad has proven successful both on the court, advancing to the 2007-08 NBA D-League playoffs, and aiding in the development of young NBA prospects, including Spurs center Ian Mahinmi and Los Angeles guards Jordan Farmar and Coby Karl.

- Erie BayHawks majority owner Steve Demetriou is a long-time season ticket holder of one of the BayHawks’ parent clubs, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Erie is only 100 miles northeast of Cleveland. The BayHawks are also affiliated with the Philadelphia 76ers.

- The expansion franchise in Reno will be affiliated with the nearby Sacramento Kings as well as the New York Knicks and will play in the Reno Convention Center.

- The Houston Rockets will again be the parent club to the NBA D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The Vipers helped hone the skills of Rockets guard Aaron Brooks and forward Steve Novak, both of whom played key roles during Houston’s record-setting 22-game winning streak this past season.

- The Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets will continue their affiliations with neighboring NBA D-League teams, the Utah Flash and Colorado 14ers, respectively. The 14ers are also affiliated with the New Jersey Nets, while the Boston Celtics are also a parent club of the Flash.

"We view our relationship with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers as a valuable tool in developing our younger players,” said Daryl Morey, Rockets general manager. “The D-League offers us the opportunity to give young players game experience while they wait for their turn to contribute on the NBA level."

The NBA D-League continues to be a breeding ground for elite basketball talent, with more NBA players than ever boasting NBA D-League experience. Twenty-nine of 30 NBA teams featured players with NBA D-League experience during the 2007-08 season, and these former NBA D-League players made up over 15 percent of NBA players on 2007-08 end-of-season rosters. Over the first three seasons of the NBA D-League's assignment system with the NBA, NBA teams have assigned 76 players a total of 130 times to play in the NBA D-League.

Additionally, the NBA D-League's affiliation system is having a positive impact on recent NBA Draft picks, who are increasingly utilizing the system as a springboard to NBA success. More than 25 percent of players from the last three NBA Draft classes have played in the NBA D-League. Last season, 19 prospects from the 2007 NBA Draft played in the NBA D-League, including first-round selections Daequan Cook(No. 21), Morris Almond(No. 25), Aaron Brooks(No. 26) and Alando Tucker(No. 29). Milwaukee Bucks second-round selection Ramon Sessions returned from assignment with the Tulsa 66ers and earned a spot in the starting lineup before being named Eastern Conference T-Mobile Rookie of the Month for games played in April.

“The affiliation system has proven over the last three seasons that it provides significant benefits to both NBA teams and their NBA D-League affiliates,” said Stu Jackson, Executive Vice President, NBA Basketball Operations. “NBA teams have seized the opportunity to accelerate the development of their young players through in-game experience, while the NBA D-League teams have been helped on and off the court by outstanding young NBA talent.”

2008-09 NBA DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE TEAM AFFILIATIONS
(Current eligible players for assignment listed)

Albuquerque Thunderbirds
Dallas Mavericks: None
Miami Heat: Blake Ahearn, Joel Anthony, Daequan Cook, Stephane Lasme, Kasib Powell

Anaheim Arsenal
Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford, Acie Law, Mario West
Los Angeles Clippers: Nick Fazekas, Al Thornton, Marcus Williams

Austin Toros
San Antonio Spurs: Ian Mahinmi

Bakersfield Jam
Golden State Warriors: Marco Belinelli, Kosta Perovic, C.J. Watson, Brandan Wright
Orlando Magic: Marcin Gortat

Colorado 14ers
Denver Nuggets: Taurean Green
New Jersey Nets: Sean Williams

Dakota Wizards
Memphis Grizzlies: Mike Conley, Javaris Crittenton, Juan Carlos Navarro
Washington Wizards: Dominic McGuire, Oleksiy Pecherov

Erie BayHawks
Cleveland Cavaliers: Lance Allred
Philadelphia 76ers: Herbert Hill, Jason Smith, Thaddeus Young

Fort Wayne Mad Ants
Detroit Pistons: Arron Afflalo, Cheikh Samb, Rodney Stuckey
Indiana Pacers: None

Milwaukee Bucks: Ramon Sessions, Yi Jianlan
Idaho Stampede
Portland Trail Blazers: Josh McRoberts, Greg Oden
Toronto Raptors: Jamario Moon

Iowa Energy
Chicago Bulls: JamesOn Curry, Aaron Gray, Demetris Nichols, Joakim Noah
Phoenix Suns: D.J. Strawberry, Alando Tucker

Los Angeles D-Fenders
Los Angeles Lakers: Coby Karl

Reno
New York Knicks: Wilson Chandler
Sacramento Kings: Spencer Hawes

Rio Grande Valley Vipers
Houston Rockets: Aaron Brooks, Mike Harris, Carl Landry, Luis Scola
New Orleans Hornets: Julian Wright

Sioux Falls Skyforce
Charlotte Bobcats: Jermareo Davidson, Jared Dudley
Minnesota Timberwolves: Corey Brewer, Chris Richard

Tulsa 66ers
Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant, Jeff Green

Utah Flash
Boston Celtics: Glen Davis, Gabe Pruitt
Utah Jazz: Morris Almond, Kyrylo Fesenko