The concept of shared D-League affiliates changed drastically last season, when the Fort Wayne Mad Ants became the only D-League team available for the 13 NBA franchises that didn’t have their own one-to-one affiliates. This year represents another dramatic step, as for the first time since D-League and NBA team affiliations began, some teams will have no affiliate at all.
Those 11 NBA teams without their own D-League squad will get to assign players to D-League clubs associated with other NBA franchises, as the NBA announced today amid the news that the Pacers have bought the Mad Ants and turned them into their one-to-one partner. D-League teams can volunteer to take the assigned players, and if no volunteers emerge, the players will be assigned at random.
A similar system was in place last season to deal with occasions when the Mad Ants were fully stocked with players and one of their 13 NBA partners wanted to make an assignment. Those 13 teams made a total of 27 D-League assignments, including six to one-to-one D-League affiliates of other NBA franchises.
The D-League landscape looks much different from the way it did two years, ago, when three D-League teams were shared affiliates for the 2013/14 season, and no more than six NBA teams partnered with any one D-League squad. Five shared D-League affiliates split no more than four NBA teams apiece in 2012/13.
The Raptors avoided the disappearance of their shared affiliate this summer when they created Raptors 905, a D-League expansion team, to serve as their one-to-one partner. Other NBA teams have interest in following suit in the years ahead, and the NBA’s ultimate goal for the D-League is that all 30 NBA franchises will have their own D-League squads.
NBA D-League affiliations for 2015/16
- Atlanta Hawks — None
- Boston Celtics — Maine Red Claws
- Brooklyn Nets — None
- Charlotte Hornets — None
- Chicago Bulls — None
- Cleveland Cavaliers — Canton Charge
- Dallas Mavericks — Texas Legends
- Denver Nuggets — None
- Detroit Pistons — Grand Rapids Drive
- Golden State Warriors — Santa Cruz Warriors
- Houston Rockets — Rio Grande Valley Vipers
- Indiana Pacers — Fort Wayne Mad Ants
- Los Angeles Clippers — None
- Los Angeles Lakers — Los Angeles D-Fenders
- Memphis Grizzlies — Iowa Energy
- Miami Heat — Sioux Falls Skyforce
- Milwaukee Bucks — None
- Minnesota Timberwolves — None
- New Orleans Pelicans — None
- New York Knicks — Westchester Knicks
- Oklahoma City Thunder — Oklahoma City Blue
- Orlando Magic — Erie BayHawks
- Philadelphia 76ers — Delaware 87ers
- Phoenix Suns — Bakersfield Jam
- Portland Trail Blazers — None
- Sacramento Kings — Reno Bighorns
- San Antonio Spurs — Austin Spurs
- Toronto Raptors — Raptors 905
- Utah Jazz — Idaho Stampede
- Washington Wizards — None
Which of the teams without a D-League affiliate would most benefit from having one? Leave a comment to let us know.