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D-League: It's the cool new thing

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Waking up this afternoon (I'm jobless.. so it depends on how much MLB 09: The Show I was able to play through before my defense screws up my ERA on my Road to the Show and I go to bed), I had a whole bunch of good D-League publicity in my inbox.  The majority of it was that the Demetris Nichols and Pops Mensah-Bonsu call-up's had finally went final, but we already covered that over the past couple days.  The other interesting articles were from Yahoo!, Slam, and Dime -- not quite the usual suspects to be covering the D-League.

Yahoo had by the far the biggest news.  Adrian Wojnarowski, whose last name was more difficult for me to type than Martynas Andriuskevicius, broke a story I had been hearing rumors about for awhile.

The NBA has decided to create a new partnership with its Developmental League teams called the “hybrid affiliation” that will allow league franchises to control the basketball operations of the minor-league teams without outright purchasing them.

Teams that chose the hybrid will control completely the basketball operations of their D-League affiliate. The NBA teams will assign the coaches and make the player personnel decisions for the minor league team. As a consequence, the NBA team must commit to paying the $300,000 to $400,000 a season that it costs to expense the D-League organization’s basketball operations. This cost includes paying the salaries of head and assistant coaches, players and trainers.

Effectively, this means that an NBA team can control all of the basketball operations without any of the business issues.  I'm not sure how any team loses with this model, as the local ownership is still heavily involved in the business operations and now they wouldn't have to worry about footing the bill for the basketball operations.

For the NBA teams, there doesn't seem to be a downside either.  This would be one step closer to creating a true minor league, as the NBA teams will be allowed to pick the coaching staff to implement their offense as well as the players that would fit best in that offense.  Currently, at least half the league runs the same offense that's worked in the D-League for the past 10 years.

While I'm not sure what this does to the NBA teams that own D-League teams (Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City), I really hope to see this catch on, as I think many more players will be inclined to play if they're directly affiliated with an NBA team, with an NBA coaching staff, and were picked up directly by that NBA team.

Plus, Woj includes this quote:

“The cost [of running a team] is less than a minimum-player salary, so it’s worth it to control your young talent,” a Western Conference executive told Yahoo! Sports. “You can either spend that money to build a great minor-league system or you can spend it on a minimum guy that’s sitting at the end of your bench.”

Boom. Roasted. (I don't know what that means, but I'm using it.  All the cool people are nowadays)

Next up on the list is an interview on Slam Online about the one, the only, Majic Dorsey.  Dorsey has quite a bit of positives to say about the D-League, especially Reno, the team for which he starts at point guard.  Reno has the biggest minor league roster in the biggest little city in the worlds biggest little league.  Boom.  Only issue is that he says that Reno has the highest D-League attendance,  though Fort Wayne is actually tops, while Reno is 5th.  Still, they average an impressive 3,278 per game.

Last, but not least, Dime Mag has their own version of the call-up rankings.  While I can't agree with everything (big ol' Jasper Johnson 2? No Richard Hendrix? etc?), and we'll have our own out soon, it's something to tide you over until then.