Eleven NBA teams don’t have a D-League affiliate this season:
- Atlanta Hawks
- Brooklyn Nets
- Charlotte Hornets
- Chicago Bulls
- Denver Nuggets
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Washington Wizards
Bulls statement, via Eric Peterson of the Daily Herald:
“The Chicago Bulls are seeking to establish an expansion NBA Development League (NBADL) franchise that would begin play at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates for the 2016-17 season,” the statement reads. “The concept of operating a NBADL franchise in the Chicago area is very exciting and represents an investment by the Bulls in the growth of the game of basketball and our brand.”
This is another step toward 30 D-League affiliates for 30 NBA teams, which seems inevitable.
The NBA can better utilize the D-League by letting parent clubs hold the exclusive NBA rights to all players on their D-League affiliates and expanding the NBA draft to fill those rosters. Then, D-League players will be more valuable to NBA teams, and salaries will rise. Fewer players will choose to play overseas instead of the D-League.
That’ll probably require 30 D-League teams.
The Bulls get us one closer. The Hawks also seem close.
After that, it’s just eight more to go.