Rowan Kavner Digital Content Coordinator
LOS ANGELES – More than two-thirds of NBA teams will have their own singly-affiliated NBA Development League team by the start of next season.
Head coach Doc Rivers hopes to make further headway this summer in eventually adding the Clippers to that list of franchises with their own D-League team.
“We’re going to discuss it, for sure,” Rivers said. “I don’t know if we’ll be able to do it by the start of the season, but it’s something we want to do. We’re a ways away from it, but we’ve had discussions with some outside forces that could make that happen, possibly.”
Nineteen NBA teams had their own D-League squads this season, and that number will jump to 22 when the 2016-17 season begins, with the Charlotte Hornets, Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls all purchasing teams.
The 2015-16 season marked the first time every D-League team was singly affiliated with an NBA parent club.
NBA teams without their own D-League team, including the Clippers, had to go through the Flexible Assignment System, at which point a player could eventually get assigned to a team already affiliated with another NBA team.
That was the case for both C.J. Wilcox, who played for the Canton Charge and Bakersfield Jam when he wasn’t with the Clippers this season, and rookie Branden Dawson, who played for the Erie Bayhawks, Grand Rapids Drive and Bakersfield this season.
“I didn’t like it,” Rivers said. “I liked it in the fact that C.J. and Branden could play; I didn’t like the fact that we had to ship them all over the country.”
Ideally, with a team of their own, the Clippers could get their younger players working in their own system when they get assigned. They could also assure their players would get on the court an ample amount of time.
“We saw them, but I would love them to go away – or any of those guys – and actually run our stuff, be coached by one of the coaches that was in training camp,” Rivers said. “I just think for development purposes, it’s a better way of developing your own guys. But, it’s better than nothing, I will say that.”
Rivers said earlier this season he hopes every team eventually gets its own D-League affiliate.
“I think it would help in a lot of ways, not just in the ways that we see right now,” Rivers said back in December. “I think it would eventually help in even the college kids coming out and almost create a farm system. But, I don’t know if that’s around the corner.”