What is the NBA Development League?
The NBA Development League, also known as the D-League, is a professional basketball league that was created to help players achieve their dreams of playing in the NBA. Currently, 16 teams make up the league, and each team is affiliated with at least one NBA franchise. The affiliation is important to NBA organizations because it allows them to send younger, less experienced players to their D-League affiliate, where the players can take advantage of increased experience and playing time.
When was the D-League established?
The D-League began in 2001 under the name 'National Basketball Development League (NBDL)'. In 2005, the league's official name changed to ‘NBA Development League (D-League).' The League began with eight original franchises located in the southeast United States, three of which still exist today. Fast-forward to the 2012-13 season, and the NBA D-League now consists of 16 teams, split into two eight-team conferences.
Austin Toros ('11-'12 D-League Champions)
Los Angeles D-Fenders
Rio Grande Valley Vipers
Dakota Wizards -> Santa Cruz Warriors*
Fort Wayne Mad Ants
Main Red Claws
Sioux Falls Skyforce
*With the addition of the team in Santa Cruz, the league will either split into three conferences with Santa Cruz being in a Pacific-focused alignment, or it will remain with two conferences and one of the more centrally located teams will move to the Eastern conference so Santa Cruz can be in the West.
How long is the D-League season?
The NBA D-League season consists of a 50-game schedule, from late November to early April. The playoffs begin shortly after the regular season. Each team plays 24 regular season home games, and the majority of games are played on weekend dates. The NBA D-League season is showcased during the season at two big events. During the NBA All-Star Weekend, the D-Leaguers play their very own All-Star game and also compete in a dunk contest and three-point shootout. The other event is called the D-League Showcase, where every team in the league plays two games over four days in one D-League city, giving NBA GMs, scouts and player personnel directors an opportunity to see every player in one setting.
Where do NBA D-League players come from?
NBA D-League teams acquire players through a draft, NBA player assignments, NBA camp allocations, tryouts and a returning player pool. What separates players in the NBA D-League from other minor league systems is that players do not sign contracts with specific NBA D-League teams. Instead, all players sign a one-year NBA D-League Standard Player Contract with the league itself. All players are relieved of their contractual obligations if they sign a contract with an NBA team at any point in the season. Below please find descriptions of the various techniques that NBA D-League teams employ to fill their rosters:
Draft: Players who signed a D-League contract but are not retained by their previous teams are eligible for the NBA D-League Draft, along with new players who sign with the league. The NBA D-League Draft takes place prior to the start of each season, often in early November.
NBA Assignments: NBA teams can assign players who are rookies or in their second season to their D-League affiliate. Players can stay with the D-League affiliate for as long as the NBA team wishes, and be recalled back to the NBA at any time.
NBA teams can call up players as many times as they choose. Starting in 2012–13, there will be no limit to the number of times an NBA player with two years or less experience can be assigned to the D-League. Since the 2011–12 season, veteran NBA players (three-plus years of NBA experience) can be assigned with their consent. An NBA player will continue to be paid his NBA salary and will continue to be included on his NBA team's roster on the inactive list while playing in the D-League.
NBA Camp Allocations: In accordance with the NBA, the NBA Development League will implement a rule change with regard to how D-League rosters are assembled. Beginning this season, up to three players cut from the roster of an NBA team before the D-League Draft will be allocated to that team's D-League affiliate provided they sign the standard D-League contract.
This rule replaces the previous allocation rule, where players of local significance would be allocated to D-League teams, a rule that was designed to help with marketing but didn't increase the team's bond with the NBA like the new allocation system.
Tryouts: All D-League teams conduct local tryouts in late October of each year, from which players can be invited to training camp with a chance of making the team's roster.
Returning Players: Teams can invite a limited number of players who played for that respective club during the previous season.
NBA D-League rosters must consist of 10 NBA D-League players, but may not exceed a total of 12 players, including NBA assignments. If more than two NBA players are assigned at once, a team must reduce its roster to avoid going over 12 players.
Teams are limited to 12 roster moves a season, although additional moves can be gained in certain situations, such as a player being signed by an NBA team or leaving to play in Europe. Training camp roster cuts do not count against the 12 moves.
How do D-Leaguers make the jump to the NBA?
A call-up occurs when a player is signed by an NBA team. An NBA team is allowed to sign any D-League player as long as they are eligible to play in the NBA under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). However, an NBA team cannot call-up a player whose draft rights are still held by another NBA team. A D-League player is usually signed to a 10-day contract, a short term contract which expires after 10 days. A player can only sign two 10-day contracts with the same team in one season. If the team wants to retain the player after the second 10-day contract expired, the team must sign the player for the remainder of the season.
At the end of the 2011-12 NBA regular season, 25 percent of NBA team rosters consisted of players with NBA D-League experience. Former D-Leaguers include Erie BayHawks and Reno Bighorns star Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks, former Los Angeles D-Fenders star Gerald Green of the Brooklyn Nets, former Tulsa 66ers star Ramon Sessions of the Los Angeles Lakers and former Rio Grande Valley Viper star C.J. Watson of the Chicago Bulls. All 30 NBA teams now have at least one player who previously made his mark in the NBA D-League.
How old are D-League players?
The minimum age to play in the D-League is 18, unlike the NBA, which requires players to be 19 years old and one year out of high school in order to sign an NBA contract or be eligible for the draft. There is no maximum age and a recent trend has seen NBA veterans attempt to return to the NBA via the D-League.
What is the NBA D-League's role in relation to social responsibility?
The D-League Cares initiative demonstrates the commitment of the league, its teams, and its players in addressing important social issues by emphasizing health-related causes and educational, youth, and family development. The best opportunity for the NBA D-League to build ties within communities is to become an active member, which the league continues to do through various year-round programs. This past season, NBA D-League Cares performed nearly 300 reading-related programs and activities, including Welcome Back to School Events, Read to Achieve Day and monthly Reading Timeouts.
How does the NBA D-League develop its players off of the basketball court?
The NBA D-League Player Development Department has the role of promoting personal, professional and social development of D-League players. Players participate in comprehensive educational programming and services to maximize their potential. These programs and services include seminars regarding off-court professional development, college degree completion, and life skills programs such as the Summer Apprenticeship Program (SAP). Players may also participate in a one-on-one Mentor Program, which matches accomplished NBA players with NBA D-League players who share similar career goals and aspirations.
Where can I find specific information about the Santa Cruz Warriors, including the status of relocation, ticket information, venue renderings, etc?
For a list of FAQs specific to the Santa Cruz Warriors, click here.