A few NBA GMs believe that it’s possible that the NBA draft will expand by a round or two once the D-League has 30 teams, as TNT’s David Aldridge writes within his Morning Tip column for NBA.com. Such a move would require union approval and wouldn’t take place until every NBA team has a D-League affiliate, Aldridge cautions. Still, D-League president Malcolm Turner told Aldridge that expansion to 30 teams is the top priority for his circuit. The Nets and Hornets have a goal of starting up one-to-one D-League affiliates in time for the 2016/17 season, and almost all of the 11 teams currently without a D-League affiliate have expressed interest in following suit within the next few years, Aldridge reports.
“With those independent teams, we’re in varying stages of expansion discussions,” Turner said to Aldridge. “No question, it’s a process. Several months ago we added Toronto and they’ll start next season, and with the Indy purchase of Fort Wayne we’ll have all our teams affiliated. For 2016/17 we’re focused on adding two and perhaps three teams. Beyond that, while we haven’t written anything in stone, expansion and 30 for 30 is definitely in the discussions for us.”
One GM suggested to Aldridge that players drafted after round two could have “two-way” contracts that call for them to make NBA salaries if they’re on NBA rosters and D-League salaries if they’re in the D-League. Another GM with whom Aldridge spoke brought up an idea of expanding the draft to five rounds for one year so that teams could stock their D-League clubs with draftees.
Still, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders heard recently that the D-League, currently at 19 teams, would likely grow by only one or two teams per year (Twitter link). Miniscule D-League salaries are often unappealing to players, many of whom can command more money overseas, but sources who spoke with Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders expect that D-League money will improve as the league continues to grow.
A GM of an NBA team without a D-League affiliate told Aldridge that his team has an unofficial arrangement with an NBA team that has a one-to-one affiliate to take on the players it assigns this season. The system in place for assigning players from the 11 unaffiliated teams seemingly allows for that. I’d speculate that the teams involved in the unofficial arrangement are the Hawks and the Spurs, who hooked up twice on D-League assignments last year, though that’s just my speculation.
Do you think the draft should go more than two rounds? Leave a comment to tell us.