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 2013-14 season, and the NBA D-League now consists of 17 teams. Below is a list of the teams, their divisions and affiliates:
Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Delaware 87ers (Philadelphia 76ers)
Erie BayHawks (New York Knicks)
Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic)
Maine Red Claws (Boston Celtics)
Springfield Armor (Brooklyn Nets)
Austin Toros (San Antonio Spurs)
Iowa Energy (Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Washington Wizards)
Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston Rockets)
Sioux Falls Skyforce (Miami HEAT)
Texas Legends (Dallas Mavericks)
Tulsa 66ers (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Bakersfield Jam (Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz)
Los Angeles D-Fenders (Los Angeles Lakers)
Idaho Stampede (Portland Trail Blazers)
Reno Bighorns (Sacramento Kings)
Santa Cruz Warriors (Golden State Warriors)
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: