A look at the 2006-07 D-League season

D-League 101: A Beginnerís Guide

By Matthew Brennan, NBADLeague.com

With the start of the 2006-07 D-League season about two months away, the league's 12 franchises have been getting ready to assemble their rosters for training camp. Explained here are exactly what the process is for how a team acquires players for its roster, the rules concerning NBA assignments and callups, and an overview of the franchises that will compete in the D-League this season.

Michael Cooper will try to lead Albuquerque to a second consecutive D-League title.
Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty
The D-League is unique in the fact that players do not sign contracts with their teams. Instead all players sign a D-League Standard Player Contract with the league itself. The standard contract is one year in duration, but players are relieved of their contract obligations if they happen to sign a contract with an NBA team at any point during the season. Under the contract players can receive bonuses if their team makes the playoffs or if they earn individual accolades such as Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, and First-Team All League.

Players who sign a contract with the D-League will be eligible for the D-League draft, which takes place on November 2. The draft is one of several methods by which teams can obtain players to report to training camps, which will begin on November 12. The other possible options are players who played for that team last season, league allocations, local tryouts, and NBA assignments. D-League rosters must consist of ten D-League players, but may not exceed a total of 12 players include NBA assignments. If more than two NBA players are assigned at once a team must reduce its roster to avoid going over twelve players.

Tryouts: All D-League teams are conducting local tryouts in late October, from which one player each will be added to a team's roster.

Allocations: Teams can also be awarded up to two allocation players. These are typically players with significant local or player appeal to that market. For example, a player from the University of Texas being allocated to the Austin Toros.

NBA Assignments: NBA teams can assign up to two players who are rookies or in their second season to their D-League affiliate. Players can stay with the D-League team for as long as the team wishes, and be recalled back to the NBA at any time. However, a player can only be sent to the D-League a maximum of three times during the season.

2006-07 D-League key dates.

2006-07 D-League Schedule.

D-League Franchises And Coaches

Albuquerque Thunderbirds
NBA Affiliations: Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, Phoenix Suns

The Albuquerque Thunderbirds are the defending champions of the D-League after defeating Ft. Worth in last season's championship game. The T-Birds are coached by Michael Cooper, who has won titles in all three NBA leagues. Cooper won five NBA titles as a player with the Los Angeles Lakers, and coached the L.A. Sparks to two WNBA titles before leading the T-Birds to the 2006 D-League title.

Dennis Johnson (right) and Mo McHone (left) will now be on opposite benches in the D-League.
Jeff Reinking/NBAE/Getty
Anaheim Arsenal:
NBA Affiliations: Los Angeles Clippers, Orlando Magic, Portland Trailblazers

The Anaheim Arsenal are one of four expansion teams to join the D-League for the 2006-07 season. Former NBA player Larry Smith, who served as an assistant with Albuquerque last season, will guide the Arsenal through their inaugural campaign.

Arkansas RimRockers
NBA Affiliations: Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat

The Arkansas RimRockers compiled a 24-24 record in 2005-06, finishing fifth in their first year in the D-League. The RimRockers, based in Little Rock, are coached by Andy Stoglin, who has nearly 30 years of professional and collegiate coaching experience.

Austin Toros:
NBA Affiliations: Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs

The Austin Toros finished in sixth place last season with a 24-24 record, and were led by league MVP Marcus Fizer. Dennis Johnson, who was a five time All-Star and won three titles during his NBA playing career, returns for his second season at the helm in Austin.

Bakersfield Jam:
NBA Affiliations: Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings

The Bakersfield Jam are one of four expansion franchises that will be joining the D-League this season. The Jam are coached by Jim Harrick, who has compiled an impressive coaching resume in the college ranks, including an NCAA with UCLA. Harrick most recently served as a scout for the Denver Nuggets, and will be entering his first head coaching job in professional basketball.

Colorado 14ers:
NBA Affiliations: Denver Nuggets, New Jersey Nets, Toronto Raptors

The 14ers, who are based in Broomfield, Colorado, are another of the D-League's expansion franchises for the 2006-7 season. Former NBA player Joe Wolf will be the team's first head coach. Last season Wolf served as head coach of the Idaho Stampede, who will also play in the D-League this year.

Daktota Wizards
NBA Affiliations: Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards

The Dakota Wizards, based in Bismarck, North Dakota, will be playing their first season in the D-League and their 12th overall. The new head coach of the Wizards is Dave Joerger who returns for his second stint with Dakota, where he won four regular season CBA titles between 2000 and 2004. For the past two seasons Joerger has served as head coach of the Sioux Falls Skyforce, who will also be playing their first season in the D-League in 2006-7.

Fort Worth Flyers
NBA Affiliations: Charlotte Bobcats, Dallas Mavericks, Philadelphia 76ers.

The Fort Worth Flyers compiled the best record in the D-League last season, finishing with a 28-20 record before losing to Albuquerque in the D-League Championship. The Flyers have recently hired five time NBA All-Star Sidney Moncrief as the team's new head coach.

Idaho Stampede
NBA Affiliations: Seattle Sonics, Utah Jazz

The Idaho Stampede are based in Boise and will be playing their first season in the D-League. The Stampede began play in 1997 and will be coached by Bryan Gates, who has served various roles with the franchise over seven seasons. Gates, whose coaching resume incudes stints in five professional basketball leagues, most recently was an assistant coach for the Austin Toros in 2005-06.

Los Angeles D-Fenders
NBA Affiliations: Los Angeles Lakers

The D-Fenders are one of the D-League four expansion teams. The franchise is owned by the Los Angles Lakers and will play home games at Staples Center prior to or after Lakers home games. The head coach of the D-Fenders will be former NBA and college assistant Dan Panaggio.

Sioux Falls Skyforce

NBA Affilations: Detroit Pistons, Minnesota Timberwolves

The Sioux Falls Skyforce, who began play in 1989, will enter the D-League for the 2006-07 season. Morris "Mo" McHone will return to Sioux Falls for his second stint as head coach after leading the team from 1995-99. McHone is already the winningest coach in Skyforce history and also has extensive experience in the NBA and collegiate coaching ranks.

Tulsa 66ers
NBA Affiliations: Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, New York Knicks

The Tulsa 66ers finished in seventh place last season with a 24-24 record. Joey Meyer returns for his second season as head coach. Meyer, the winningnest coach in D-League history, has coached in the league since its inception and has won two D-League championships. Prior to coaching in the D-League, Meyer was the head coach at DePaul University for 13 years where his teams made seven NCAA Tournament appearances.