I was doing some quality lurking over at Golden State of Mind today and noticed them talking about our little ol' D-League in the fan posts. See, they noticed our post about buying the Jam, but frankly, they didn't like it (neither did we, until changes are made, President Reed). End result, they wanted to open up discussion on how to D-League can improve to more people, with opinions (We have opinions! We have 131 comments on a Cinco de Mayo post!) Apparently, they're not reading RU often enough, as there is a solution called the hybrid affiliation.
It probably makes more sense to look at this more in-depth now that the season is complete however, so that's what we'll do. First, for a bit of backstory, here's the actual explanation of the hybrid model, which we touched on back when it first looked like it was on its way to coming to fruition:
The new policy will enable an NBA team to assume "full control over all basketball operations of its D-League affiliate, including coaching and player personnel decisions." In return, NBA clubs must make a three-year commitment to covering the expenses for the affiliate's basketball operations, which includes player salaries, paying for the coaching and training staffs and absorbing all travel costs.
The NBA estimates the annual cost of those expenses to be $300,000 to $400,000 annually. Which equates to the single-season amount NBA teams spend on a minimum-salaried rookie. The cost involved in running all levels of a D-League franchise, by contrast, was estimated by one Western Conference executive as "a million-dollar loss for one year."
Well now, doesn't that sound friendly for the D-League teams? Golden State, wouldn't it have been nice to have Richard Hendrix, DeMarcus Nelson, Derrick Byars and Trey Johnson on call, along with six other players that you would have had a choice on bringing in? Hiring your own coach to develop these guys, and maybe develop himself while Don Nelson does what he does until he decides he's done?
This is a huge step, but lets look at what else I'd like to implement to help the D-League. First, of course there are the two that I've already talked about earlier this week: Better implementing the D-League for rookies and revamping the assignment rules. After the jump of course, are more ideas I've conjured up myself, along with gleaning some from the deepest corners of the world wide web of the internet.
To go along with this, there are plenty of other ideas that would make sense to implement. Here's a smattering, with brief explanations:
Expanding the draft to multiple rounds - This would make sense, especially since the majority of the second rounders end up in the D-League anyway. Let's draft five rounds, and make the players in the last four rounds eligible for the D-League, along with their rights being retained by the NBA teams that draft them. For example, this season, the Spurs sent James Gist overseas rather than bringing him to camp and cutting him, because then they would have lost his rights. I hate this. If he can't be used, keep our jobs local!
- More NBA support - Ask the typical NBA fan about the D-League, they'll either have something negative to say or they won't know anything about it. This needs to change, as the D-League, like it or not, is a major part of the NBA. One out of every four players in training camp last season spent time in the D-League. Pretty good chance that if you pay attention to the D-League, at least one of their players will end up on your team soon.
- All D-League players rights belong to a team - Until we get to a direct one-to-one affiliation (and this could be awhile), lets have a draft for all of the players in the D-League. Just seems right that the vets like Eddie Gill have some NBA backing. He's going to get called up every season, why not let a team draft his rights? Plus it'd be really fun to trade the rights for Eddie Gill and the retired Keith Van Horn for Devean George.
- Let players do the rehab assignments - This is pretty self-explanatory. If a players injured, give him a rehab assignment. Gilbert Arenas last season could have used one. Elton Brand actually wanted to do one last season. If it gets these guys closer to playing, make it happen. Especially if they're open to it. I don't see where the problem lies here.
- Last, and this one is straight from Matt Moore back at HP back in the day, and is a bit crazy.. but hey, it could happen. Adjust The Call-Up Times - Okay, Mr. Reed. You're going to think I'm insane. I understand this. Just hear me out. One of the big issues with the league is that players get called up and then don't get playing time. They're afterthoughts. Let's make the players more valuable by limiting when they're available. Let's say you take the first month and make it impossible to call-up a player. Then, a month later, a two month window opens where you can sign anyone, just like now. Then, another month where players are locked in. Then they're free for the remainder of the year, including heading into the playoffs. It'll keep teams together, which makes them more likable. It also creates heightened times of attention towars the league. You've seen how insane we all get towards the trade deadline. A fraction of that brings more attention to the D-League. Just throwing it out there, to see if it sticks.
What am I missing?