With the NBA D-League quickly becoming more of a formal and traditional minor league system of The Association, there are plenty of big league franchises forming single affiliations with NBADL teams.
Such a trend has boded well for a number of squads, as teams like the Rockets, Thunder, and Warriors have all been seen utilizing their rather local affiliates to flip and flop a variety of prospects between the NBA and D-League on almost a daily basis, depending on each team's respective schedule.
There are still a handful of minor league squads, however, that serve as a hybrid affiliate for multiple teams. Currently associated with the Bulls, Nuggets, Hornets, and Wizards, the Iowa Energy currently stand as one of those very squads.
According to an excellent local report, the Energy have been holding out on forming a single partnership, but are nevertheless exploring different options. It's easy to see the benefits of entering a single affiliation.
Though it's clearly nice to be independently and locally owned, staying in a relationship with multiple teams could also lead to more conflicts of interest with regard to developing relationships with the number of NBA teams one is affiliated with. As the report goes on to note, such conflicts could be (but aren't limited to) a disagreement as to whether or not an assigned NBA player should and/or will play go on to play major minutes.
For more, check out the snippet below to see more of the pros and cons to each side:
"It's hard to manage four teams and the needs of four teams," Energy general manager Chris Makris said. "A lot of times they're sending you very talented players, but they're not necessarily going to help you win, because they're young or they don't know your system. When guys come here, they've got to earn their minutes. It's not a situation where we've got to play them 40 minutes a game.
"That's what the single-affiliation rule is for, if they want to get that involved."
The Energy have been affiliated with the Bulls throughout their six-year history. But as D-League teams keep pairing with NBA counterparts, the Energy have been forced to pick up affiliates, including the Nuggets this year for the first time....
.....The reasons single affiliations are on the rise are obvious. It allows the NBA team to control its coaches and players at the minor-league level, making sure they run the same system as the big-league club and getting each athlete the minutes they want. The D-League team doesn't have to worry about acquiring enough talent to fill out a roster, since any player who spends time in the NBA training camp automatically is assigned to the affiliate. The teams also wouldn't need separate scouting departments to find players, with the NBA team able to handle all of that.
The downside, as Crawford and Makris see it, is that the NBA team is less likely to be concerned with the win-loss record of its affiliate. As long as the players are getting the proper experience, the scoreboard hardly matters.