Suns News

NBA Announces NBA Development League Affiliation and Assignment System

Posted: Sept. 19, 2005

NEW YORK, September 19 – The National Basketball Association announced today its new affiliation and assignment system for the NBA Development League. Under this system, each of the eight current D-League teams will be affiliated with either three or four NBA teams, and the NBA teams may assign players in their first two seasons to play in the D-League.

The Phoenix Suns have been assigned affiliation with the Albequerque Thunderbirds, which will be coached by five time NBA champion and former University of New Mexico star player Michael Cooper.

“This is another step in the right direction to assist in the continuing development of players,” said Stu Jackson, NBA Senior Vice President, Basketball Operations. “It has long been our goal to have team affiliations between the NBA and the D-League and this structure should be mutually beneficial to both leagues and the players.” “This is terrific news for basketball fans in D-League markets”, said Phil Evans, NBA Development League President. “Now, in addition to seeing the best basketball players in the world not currently in the NBA, they will have the opportunity to see current NBA players as well, some of whom will be future NBA stars. We've now made a quality entertainment product even better.”

This affiliation and assignment system will be reviewed by the NBA after the 2005-06 season, and if additional D-League teams are added for the 2006-07 season, affiliations will be adjusted to correspond with the total number of D-League teams..

Assignment Rules:

  • An NBA team may assign any player on its Active List or Inactive List to play in the D-League, provided that the player has zero or one Years of Service at the time of Assignment.
  • No players may be given more than three Assignments during any season. There is no minimum or maximum length of a D-League assignment.
  • During the 2005-06 season, no NBA team may have more than two players on assignment at the same time.
  • A player on Assignment will be carried on the Inactive List of his NBA Team.

    The D-League offers players the opportunity to develop their talent in a highly competitive atmosphere under the NBA’s umbrella. Thirty-four (34) players have been called up from the D-League to the NBA on 50 separate occasions. Eleven (11) former D-League coaches, five athletic trainers, 11 referees and 29 front office executives have also been called up since the start of the league’s inaugural season in November 2001.

    Designed to help grow the sport of basketball both domestically and internationally, the league also offers fun, family entertainment at affordable prices. The D-League is a source of on-court talent for the NBA’s 30 teams and is a diverse human resources pool for the NBA and its teams by training employees in management, operations, public relations, sales and marketing positions.


    Albuquerque Thunderbirds Florida Flame
    Phoenix Suns Boston Celtics
    Sacramento Kings Miami Heat
    Seattle SuperSonics Minnesota Timberwolves
    Utah Jazz Orlando Magic
    Arkansas RimRockers Fort Worth Flyers
    Atlanta Hawks Dallas Mavericks
    Cleveland Cavaliers Golden State Warriors
    Memphis Grizzles Los Angeles Lakers
    Toronto Raptors Portland Trail Blazers
    Austin Toros Roanoke Dazzle
    Denver Nuggets New Jersey Nets
    Houston Rockets Philadelphia 76ers
    Los Angeles Clippers Washington Wizards
    San Antonio Spurs
    Fayetteville Patriots Tulsa 66ers
    Charlotte Bobcats Chicago Bulls
    Detroit Pistons Indiana Pacers
    New York Knicks Milwaukee Bucks
    New Orleans Hornets

    Contact: Mark Broussard, NBA, (212) 407-8580 / Kent Partridge, D-League, (864) 248-1108 /