Allocation Rule Change Strengthens NBA, D-League Affiliate Bond
Quite simply, some don't as of right now -- but the random invites could pay off in the long run for some of the savvier NBA teams.
In accordance with the NBA, the NBA Development League will implement a rule change with regard to how D-League rosters are assembled. Beginning this season, up to three players cut last from the roster of an NBA team before the D-League Draft will be allocated to that team's D-League affiliate provided they sign the standard D-League contract.
This rule replaces the previous allocation rule, where players of local significance would be allocated to D-League teams, a rule that was designed to help with marketing but didn't increase the team's bond with the NBA like the new allocation system should.
"The new allocation process is a big change and it will alter our league drastically," said one D-League coach, speaking to FanHouse on the condition of anonymity as the rule change has not yet been officially announced by the league. "Very often, the best players in the D-League attended training camp with an NBA team. It's great from an NBA team's perspective since the players they like, and want a longer look at, can stay with their affiliates."
This, perhaps, is the thinking of the Portland Trail Blazers who have invited 20 players to training camp despite having the NBA-maximum 15 players with guaranteed contracts already on their roster. Despite not having room on the roster currently, the Blazers will probably try to shuttle a few of these players to their D-League affiliate Idaho Stampede in order to keep an eye on their continuing development.
"For the D-League, allocation now becomes as much or more important than the draft," the coach continued. "Teams that have a close NBA affiliation will have an advantage year in and year out, but if your affiliate NBA teams have open roster spots in a given year, they will attract some of the best available free agents so there can be a lot of luck involved."
The one problem, it seems, is that although this betters NBA involvement it could have averse affects to the D-League, according to the coach.
"I think the rule makes sense, but it will be interesting to see how it affects competitive balance. There will be many teams that get three really good players coming out of camp, and those that don't will be behind."
Obviously, while this change may not have a huge initial effect, it shows that the bonds between the NBA teams and their D-League affiliates will continue to gain strength.