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Updating the D-League "Hybrid Affiliation"

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As we touched on the other day, the NBA seems to be ready to start using the D-League a little bit more, by going to a hybrid affiliation, where an NBA team will be able to buy the basketball operations side of a D-League team with incurring the business expenses of the off-court product. Marc Stein, in today's Weekend Dime, updates us a bit further on this development.

The NBA team must make a three year commitment when doing this, which equates to a potential investment of $1.2 million.  Another new aspect in Stein's article says that the NBA will also be in charge of absorbing all travel cost, which explains the $400,000 per year investment.

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."


Other interesting bits in Stein's article are as follows:

Our initial quickie poll of a handful of teams, however, suggests that only a few NBA clubs are expected to take advantage of the new model, even though the push for this option came from the teams as opposed to the league office in recent months. The deterrant is the mandatory three-year commitment which makes it a potential investment of $1.2 million. As one East exec noted: "This couldn't come at a worse time economically. I love the idea and we'll look at it, but [it's] hard to stomach more costs for most teams now."

The economy question makes sense, but as commenter hkf pointed out yesterday, " a league where Beno Udrih got 30 million over 5 years, I am not sure how NBA teams could balk at 900K to 1.2 million over 3 years to run a competent minor league operation."  +1 for RidiculousUpside.
I've been led to believe that NBA teams would jump at greater D-League participation if, like their baseball brethren, they held more player rights to minor leaguers. Only affiliated players who are sent down from the NBA on assignment belong to their parent clubs baseball-style... 
"All things being equal, it's better to do it than not do it," one West exec said of buying into the new hybrid model. "You get first-hand knowledge of the players. You get to hire the coaches. You get to put in your own offensive and defensive systems.

"But it's a massive difference from baseball when you don't get to control player rights. What are you really getting? The Lakers or the Spurs could develop a guy in their D-League program and we can sign him if he's not [on their NBA roster]."

Excellent point.  I would have assumed that would be the case for this hybrid system, but if it's not, I guess I'm not as pro-hybrid as I thought.  Regardless, I think this is a great system, and can't wait to see who jumps on the opportunity first!  I wonder who will try it first... Any guesses?