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A Refresher on D-League Alumni (and Their "Rights") Following NBA Training Camp

As a rule, NBA teams can retain up to three waived players from training camp for their D-League affiliates. Here's a more in-depth look at how that works.


We've said this time and again before, but as a rule, NBA teams are able to retain (if so mutually desired) up to three waived prospects (from training camp) for their D-League affiliates. That said, if another minor league team already holds such rights for a player while they participate in training camp with a non-affiliated big league team, things get a little bit more complicated.

What's more, another thing we'll start to see in the next week or so plus is NBA teams signing a player, then subsequently waiving them immediately, say, a day or so later. This allows them to retain a player's D-League rights. After he spent training camp with the Lakers, the Mavericks scooped Chris Douglas-Roberts up last year soon after. He went on to play for the Texas Legends and actually received a call-up by Dallas later in the season.

This month, an early case of this happening has been the Nets picking up Adonis Thomas. Expect to see him don a Springfield Armor uniform come next month.

Earlier this week, my buddy Seth Rosenthal did a solid job explaining some of the necessary formalities over at Posting & Toasting. Obviously, he fittingly uses some of the Knicks' training camp invitees as examples, but take a look below for more info:

As many people on Twitter just informed me (and as our dear D-League employee Dylan Murphy did his best to explain in depth to me), up to three players cut from each NBA team before the D-League draft takes place in early November can have their rights controlled by the cutting team's D-League affiliate.

If the Knicks cut Leslie and the BayHawks did NOT add him via the up-to-three rule, he would be entered into the D-League draft and his rights would be up for grabs.

Now, there is a ton of additional complexity to this that I still don't fully understand. Leslie's case is pretty clean and simple, but Toure' Murry's is not. Murry played for the Rio Grande Vipers last season, and D-League rights carry over for two seasons. Thus, if the Knicks cut him, the Vipers (who are affiliated with the Rockets) get first dibs if they want him back.

The Knicks CAN retain the exclusive rights of up to three players if they cut them before the D-League draft (and they must cut to 15 before the D-League draft). For players without recent D-League experience, this process is clean-cut as long as team, affiliate, and player all consent to it. For players with recent D-League experience, there are a few more hoops to jump through.