NEW YORK, July 6, 2010 – The National Basketball Association and the NBA Development League, the official minor league of the NBA, today announced the affiliation system for the 2010-11 season, including first-time affiliations between the Dallas Mavericks and the Frisco-based Texas Legends, new to the NBA D-League for the 2010-11 season; the Los Angeles Lakers and the Bakersfield Jam; the Golden State Warriors and the Reno Bighorns; and the Orlando Magic and the New Mexico Thunderbirds. For the sixth consecutive year, each NBA team has one NBA D-League affiliate to which it may assign players in their first or second NBA season.
“The direct affiliation between NBA and NBA D-League teams continues to benefit players, coaches, and basketball fans," said Dan Reed, NBA D-League President. "Nearly one-third of all NBA Draft picks have played for their NBA D-League affiliate since the program's inception, and these affiliate relationships are a key reason why 20 percent of all NBA players have NBA D-League playing experience."
Entering the sixth year of direct affiliations between NBA and NBA D-League, a number of teams continue to build on strong affiliation relationships developed over past seasons. The Washington Wizards begin their fifth year as the parent club of the Dakota Wizards (Bismarck, N.D.), while the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sioux Falls Skyforce (S.D.) have also been affiliated since the 2006-07 season. The 2010-11 season marks the fourth year that a number of teams have been affiliated, including the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers; the Portland Trail Blazers and Idaho Stampede; the Utah Flash and Utah Jazz; and the Chicago Bulls and Iowa Energy. A number of other teams enter the third year of their affiliation relationships, including the Sacramento Kings and Reno Bighorns, and the Cleveland Cavaliers and Erie BayHawks.
Three other NBA D-League teams are singly-affiliated with their NBA parent club for the 2010-11 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs owning the Tulsa 66ers and Austin Toros, respectively. The Houston Rockets begin the second year of their direct single-affiliation partnership with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, which began prior to the 2009-10 season and was the first of its kind.
The NBA D-League will again have 16 teams playing in 2009-10, including the Texas Legends, who will tip off their inaugural season under the guidance of head coach Nancy Lieberman in November.
The NBA D-League continues to be a springboard for elite basketball talent, with more NBA players than ever boasting NBA D-League experience. More than 30 percent of players from the last five NBA Draft classes have played in the NBA D-League, including Hasheem Thabeet, the second overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft, who became the highest drafted player to be assigned to an NBA D-League team when the Memphis Grizzlies assigned him to the Dakota Wizards. Additionally, Twenty percent of NBA players on 2009-10 end-of-season rosters had NBA D-League experience, while 29 of 30 NBA teams featured players with NBA D-League experience last season. Over the first five seasons of the NBA D-League's assignment system, NBA teams have assigned 140 players a total of 217 times to play in the NBA D-League.
“Over the last five years, NBA teams have embraced the assignment system and it has flourished – more than 100 NBA players have been assigned to their NBA D-League affiliates,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations for the NBA D-League. “Now, entering the system’s sixth season, it continues to be exciting for fans not only to watch top NBA prospects playing in the NBA D-League on assignment every night, but to follow the careers of NBA players who have benefited from their assignments.”
The affiliation system for the 2010-11 NBA D-League season features several noteworthy storylines:
- The Mavericks begin their first season as the affiliate of the Texas Legends, which is owned by Mavericks’ General Manager Donnie Nelson.
- Following a 2010 NBA D-League Championship, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Houston Rockets begin their second season as single affiliates, having been affiliated with the team for the last three seasons overall. During that time, Houston has assigned guards Aaron Brooks and Jermaine Taylor and forwards Joey Dorsey and Steve Novak to help further their development.
- The Golden State Warriors, who called up five NBA D-League players during the 2009-10 season, begin their affiliation with the Reno Bighorns this year. The team will also continue to be affiliated with the Sacramento Kings.
- The San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City continue to own their own NBA D-League teams -- the Austin Toros and Tulsa 66ers, respectively. Each squad has proven successful in aiding in the development of young NBA prospects. The Thunder assigned Byron Mullens, Mustafa Shakur, D.J. White and Kyle Weaver during the 2009-10 NBA D-League season to further their growth, while the Spurs developed talent in Alonzo Gee and Curtis Jerrells during their time with the Toros before calling them up to the Spurs.
2010-11 NBA DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE TEAM AFFILIATIONS
Austin Toros (TX)
San Antonio Spurs
Bakersfield Jam (CA)
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
Dakota Wizards (Bismarck, ND)
Erie BayHawks (PA)
Fort Wayne Mad Ants (IN)
Idaho Stampede (Boise, ID)
Portland Trail Blazers
Iowa Energy (Des Moines, IA)
Maine Red Claws (Portland, ME)
New Mexico Thunderbirds (Rio Rancho, NM)
New Orleans Hornets
Reno Bighorns (NV)
Golden State Warriors
Rio Grande Valley Vipers (McAllen, TX)
Sioux Falls Skyforce (SD)
Springfield Armor (MA)
New Jersey Nets
New York Knicks
Texas Legends (Frisco, TX)
Tulsa 66ers (OK)
Oklahoma City Thunder
Utah Flash (Orem, UT)