The Spurs are making the most out of a rule that allows them to work with developing prospects from other NBA franchises. The 11 NBA teams without their own D-League squads this season are permitted to assign players to D-League clubs associated with other NBA franchises, using what is known as the flexible assignment rule. D-League teams can volunteer to take on the assigned players, and if no volunteers emerge, the players are assigned at random. The Spurs have taken in more D-League assignees from other teams than any other franchise.
Teams certainly have their preferences when it comes to where they assign their players. Playing time is of course a major factor, since there is little benefit to sending a player to the D-League if he is going to ride the pine, which could be accomplished at the NBA-level. The system a D-League team runs is also a factor, which is likely a major reason why the Hawks, who run a similar system to the Spurs, have sent 13 of their 17 players assigned to the D-League to San Antonio’s affiliate. In fact, more assignments have been made to the Spurs’ D-League squad by other teams this season than by the Spurs themselves, who have totaled just 10 on the campaign thus far.
Listed below are the number of players assigned to each affiliate via the flexible assignment this season:
- Austin Spurs [Spurs affiliate] — 14 assignments
- Canton Charge [Cavaliers affiliate] — 8 assignments
- Bakersfield Jam [Suns affiliate] — 4 assignments
- Santa Cruz Warriors [Warriors affiliate] — 3 assignments
- Grand Rapids Drive [Pistons affiliate] — 3 assignments
- Oklahoma City Blue [Thunder affiliate] — 2 assignments
- Erie BayHawks [Magic Affiliate] — 2 assignments
- Westchester Knicks [Knicks affiliate] — 1 assignment
- Idaho Stampede [Jazz affiliate] — 1 assignment