The process of the D-League becoming a minor league where every team has a single affiliate has taken a step forward, as the Hornets will reportedly be locating their NBADL squad in Greensboro, North Carolina. While the team itself won't be starting until 2016-17, this is still big news for both the Charlotte Hornets and the NBA D-League.
For the Hornets, this is a huge step in their budding relationship with the D-League. While they've never had a single affiliate, the team has utilized the NBADL as a resource to call players up mid-season to help add some depth to their squad. Over the last three seasons, the Hornets/Bobcats called up the likes of Justin Hamilton, Elliot Williams, Jeff Adrien and Chris Douglas-Roberts. Alongside, the team picked former Texas Legends guard P.J Hairston with the 26th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
As for the league, the Hornets' Greensboro affiliate will be the league's 20th franchise. That number could become bigger once the 2016-17 NBADL season tips off, as both New Orleans and Atlanta are in heavy pursuit to acquire their own D-League franchise. Pelicans GM Dell Demps discussed the prospects of the team becoming more involved with the NBADL in an offseason interview with ESPN personality Amin Elhassan. On the other hand, the Atlanta Hawks named Andrew Steinberg to be their Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer, with one of his tasks pursuing an NBADL affiliate for the Eastern Conference powerhouse.
Those impending moves would bring the D-League back to its roots of having their teams located in the Southeast. When the NBADL was founded in 2001, all their franchises were located in the Southeastern states like Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, and North/South South Carolina. While those franchises eventually folded or relocated, there might be some additional interest considering that the D-League/NBA relationship has strengthened significantly over the past decade.
While that potential buildup of the D-League is still a big work in progress, this move is a huge first step. Now that the Hornets have reportedly located where their new franchise will be, they'll be spending the next year to build up a front-office, coaching staff, and decide on the name for the franchise.