Pelicans Will Get D-League Affiliate For 2018/19

Heading into next season, the Pelicans are expected to be one of five NBA teams without their own D-League affiliate. However, that won’t be the case by the following year. The Pelicans announced today in a press release that they intend to launch their own D-League affiliate to begin play for the 2018/19 season.

According to the announcement, the Pelicans haven’t yet decided on a home for their D-League squad, which will be owned and operated by the franchise. The organization will send a Request for Proposal to 11 cities, including seven in Lousiana. The other four cities that could be in play for New Orleans’ D-League affiliate are in Mississippi (two), Alabama (one), and Florida (one).

“Our goal is to establish a Development League team in nearby proximity to our home base of New Orleans,” Pelicans owner Tom Benson said in a statement. “I have been very impressed with the growth and structure of the NBA Developmental League. It is a wise and necessary investment into the future of the Pelicans. The team will provide us with a better platform of developing our younger players and staff.

“It also will allow us the opportunity to widen the spectrum of fans that come in contact with our organization on a regional basis. In addition, it will provide us with the opportunities to further promote the game of basketball and further our community support to the region. This will be a very significant addition for a city near us as it will add global exposure and bring professional basketball to their town.”

Without a D-League affiliate of their own, the Pelicans have used the NBADL sparingly this season. Rookie big man Cheick Diallo has been assigned to the D-League several times, but the flexible assignment rule has resulted in him spending time with the Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte’s affiliate), Austin Spurs (San Antonio), and Long Island Nets (Brooklyn). A local, one-to-one affiliate will allow the Pelicans to better develop their young players in the future.

With the Pelicans poised to operate a D-League club, the only NBA teams without an affiliate – or a plan in place to add one – are the Nuggets, Clippers, Trail Blazers, and Wizards.

Of course, it’s also worth mentioning that by the time the Pelicans’ D-League affiliate launches, the league will have been re-branded as the G-League. You can read more on that story right here.

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4 thoughts on “Pelicans Will Get D-League Affiliate For 2018/19

  1. chiefivey

    is the nba gonna use the NBADL the same way he MLB uses the minors?

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    • liamsfg

      Well, with the proposal of two-way roster spots it would seem so.

      Basically a few guys on your 15-man roster can be on two-way contracts and can switch out with eligible D-League players on contract. Essentially this may bump the 15 man roster into a 17 man pool where players can be optioned between the NBA and the D-League. Much like an MLB 40-man roster.

      Similar to the MLB minor league system but on a much smaller scale. Also, the players on minor league teams for baseball are under contract for their affiliate major league team and cannot just sign elsewhere. If they choose this for the NBA then it could mean a place to stash acquired draft picks until their ready to step up or be used as trade chips later on.

      There is also limits in MLB contracts as to how many times a player can be optioned to the minors. A player makes a different wage when in the minors. There are also players on “minor league contracts.” Meaning they aren’t on an MLB 40-man roster and just play minor league ball. An MLB can purchase these players and add them to the 40-man roster if a spot is available.

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