Tag: D-League

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How the lockout will hurt the D-League, too.

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The good news is that while the NBA players sit on their hands and the NBA owners sit on their piles of money in a silly standoff, the D-League will start up this fall. The NBA’s official developmental league is not locked out.

But don’t think the lockout isn’t hurting the D-League.

The D-League is made up of guys with NBA dreams living on the fringe of making the league. But if there is no league, these same guys are thinking about the larger paychecks in Europe (the average D-League player only makes $25,000 a year, those same guys make three or more times that overseas).

The lockout is draining the D-League’s talent pool.

Scott Schroeder and his blog Ridiculous Upside is one of the best spots to get D-League info, and he breaks it down for us in an email.

“Not only will the majority of last season’s best D-League players be in Europe (7 of the 15 All-D-League team members have signed overseas so far and you can increase that to 11 if you count the NBA guys with non-guaranteed NBA contracts), but there’s little incentive for a new crop of players to return from Europe to play in the D-League this year. Not only would it be a cut in pay ($25,500 maximum), but the biggest incentive to play in the D-League is the chance at an NBA call-up.

“I’ve heard from some agents that they plan to keep their clients around for at least a little while in case the lockout ends soon enough for their player to latch on to an NBA team (considering a lot of the fringe guys will have already signed in Europe, the pickings won’t exactly be abundant for 12th and 13th men), but if the lockout lasts into January, there’s no doubt going to be an exodus of players looking for more lucrative overseas opportunities, leaving the D-League talent pool slimmer than usual.”

I’m with Schroeder’s final sentiment, too. I wish the lockout would end.

Former Kings, Warriors coach Musselman lands in D-League

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Talk with Eric Musselman for a few minutes and you realize some things. First, he knows basketball. Second, he is organized.

That alone does not make you a good NBA coach — managing people is the key to the job. For reference see Phil Jackson. But there should be little doubt that Musselman can teach.

Which means maybe this is the best thing for him — he is the new coach of the D-Fenders, the Lakers D-League team, notes CSNBayArea.com. He will get to that gig once he finishes coaching the Venezuelan national team this summer.

Also, Musselman is working his way around on crutches this summer due to an Achilles injury.

The D-Fenders return to the D-League after a one season sabbatical last year. This could be an interesting job: The Lakers are a handful of years away from having to retool their roster for the post-Kobe era. Guys that shine at the D-League level could be part of that future. Guys the drafted in the second round could get their chance to shine.

And Musselman can learn some new skills, too.

Bruce Pearl could coach Maverick’s D-League team

Tennessee v Michigan

Bruce Pearl cannot commit any recruiting violations as the coach of the Texas Legends of the D-League.

And the former Tennessee head coach could get that gig coaching the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, according to Marc Stein at ESPN.

The Texas Legends are making a hard push to hire former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl to replace Nancy Lieberman as coach of the D-League franchise, according to NBA coaching sources….

“When the world champions call you have to listen,” Pearl said. “Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson have been great and I’m looking forward to talking to them.”

Pearl will interview Thursday with the team and Stein says it could be the job if he wants it. He may not want it, there are offers out for him to be a college basketball analyst (he can’t be worse than Steve Lavin) and that job both pays better and has a lighter workload. That’s hard to pass up.

Pearl is going to struggle to get a Division I college gig again (not for a long time after the waves of recruiting violations found at Tennessee) so jumping to the NBA to coach makes sense for him. This is how you get a foot in the door — do a good job in the D-League for a year or two and you’ll get an assistant’s gig in the NBA somewhere.

Can Pearl coach at the pro level? He certainly won at the college level, but frankly most college games are won during recruiting season. Talent wins out at all levels, but in college the disparity from program to program is much greater. He can motivate, we’ll see how his Xs and Os stack up. But it looks like he’s going to get a chance.

D-Leaguers to make up Team USA at Pan Am Games

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UPDATE 5:19 pm: Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don’t Lie pointed out something about this move that I had not considered: This D-League move is a dress rehearsal for the Olympics in 2012.

If the lockout cancels the entire 2011-12 NBA season (and that is not out of the question) then there would still be a lockout when the next Olympics open in London one year from today (July 27). While in theory players could play in the Olympics during a lockout, the NBA and Team USA stand next to each other wrapped in a Nike flag — it’s a David Stern production. Players likely would not break ranks to go. Which means no Dream Team (on the 20th anniversary of the original Dream Team). So, better to test out the D-League system before  next summer.

If you think I’m kidding, the last lockout fell during a World Championships and we sent only undrafted rookies and college kids in 1998. And no, we didn’t get the gold.

 3:34 pm: I’ll be up front, I like this move a lot.

The NBA’s big names are locked out and don’t really plan in the Pan American Games anyway, so Team USA is usually a collection of college players.

But this time around it is going to be a D-League team, including coach and players, USA Basketball announced Wednesday.

Tulsa 66ers head coach Nate Tibbetts will be coaching the squad, with a roster to be selected through invited tryouts in early October (at a location yet to be named).

“We’re excited about the opportunity for players and coaches from the NBA Development League to represent their country on an international stage,” said NBA D-League President Dan Reed. “This is another testament to the world-class basketball talent we’re attracting and promoting to the NBA, and we’re very pleased to partner with USA Basketball to go for the gold!”

Two players from the Pan Am team will be part of the USA Select team, the scrimmage partner next summer for Team USA as they get ready for the 2012 London Olympics.

This is a great move for exposure and opportunities for the D-League, and it gets to expose some guys to international competition. The guys selected will want to be there. And it should be a pretty good team.

The Pan Am Games (which take place every four years and are sort of a Western Hemisphere tune up for the Olympics for some sports) will take place in late October in Guadalajara, Mexico. Where people will still care far more about Chivas.

Cavaliers buy D-League team; league affiliations announced

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Next season, whether or not we have NBA games, we will have D-League games. (Some of which you can see on Versus, just to do an in-house plug.)

And there will be D-League games in Canton, Ohio, because the Cleveland Cavaliers have purchased the D-League team in New Mexico Thunderbirds and will be moving them to Canton, the team announced. The Canton team will be Cleveland’s primary D-League affiliate.

Every NBA team has an affiliation with a D-League team where they can send players in their first two years in the NBA down for seasoning. Five NBA teams own a D-League team and have a ‘one-to-one’ affiliation: The Golden State Warriors (Dakota Wizards), Los Angeles Lakers (Los Angeles D-Fenders), Oklahoma City Thunder (Tulsa 66ers) and San Antonio Spurs (Austin Toros). Four others have what the league describes as a “hybrid” affiliation: The Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers), New Jersey Nets (Springfield Armor), New York Knicks (Erie BayHawks) and Dallas Mavericks (Texas Legends).

The league also released the affiliations for the other D-League teams:

Bakersfield Jam (California): Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors.

Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Indiana): Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks.

Idaho Stampede: Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz.

Iowa Energy: Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Hornets, Washington Wizards.

Maine Red Claws: Boston Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats, Philadelphia 76ers.

Reno Bighorns (Nevada): Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento King.

Sioux Falls Skyforce (South Dakota): Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic.