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How Will The Increased Number of Single Affiliations Affect NBA D-League Landscape?

With an increased number of single affiliations, the NBA D-League may need to get creative with its format for the remaining teams next season.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, the Erie BayHawks and Orland Magic announced their newly formed hybrid affiliation. As such, the BayHawks are the exclusive D-League partner of the Magic, and vice versa.

In addition to such a pairing, when taking into consideration the widely reported forthcoming partnership between the Utah Jazz and Idaho Stampede, there are likely to be up to sixteen one-to-one affiliations.

Whereas such progression is undoubtedly something positive to be celebrated for the continued growth of the D-League as a whole, the rest of the affiliations are currently in flux, creating question marks surrounding the league for next season's format.

Sixteen single affiliations, whether each one stands to be a hybrid or parent one, mean more than ten NBA teams are currently left unassigned for the coming year.

What we can confirm is this: that will not remain the same. League officials assert that every NBA team will have some sort of affiliation in some varying way, shape, or form for the upcoming season.

How that gets accomplished now becomes the question.

As it stands now, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (ironically enough, this past season's NBADL Champions, in fact) stand tall as the league's lone independently owned franchise with multiple affiliates.

It'd be a little farfetched to believe a team like the Mad Ants could (or should have to, for that matter) maintain relationships and balance the needs of upwards towards thirteen or fourteen NBA team affiliates. There has to be another, more convenient and sensible, arrangement in the works.

Still, a source suggests to that the league will need to get creative going forward. Should an increased number of NBA teams be forced to share an affiliate once again, the source asserts that the minor league could revert back to limiting the number of assignments an NBA team could make throughout the year, in an effort to balance the needs of each team involved.

What's more, the timing of such assignments between the respective big league affiliates could also be monitored and manipulated depending on varying schedules, in order to ensure organization and see to it that each NBA team still reaps the evident benefits.