Wizards owner Ted Leonsis discusses deeper draft to stock minor-league affiliates

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NBA general managers have discussed expanding the draft, but that would have to be collectively bargained. So, the real power brokers are the owners and players.

One owner is talking along the same lines.

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis – who announced Washington’s minor-league affiliate would be the fantastically named Capital City Go-Go – via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington:

“I’m sure at some point there will be a change in the rules,” Leonsis explained. “Maybe the draft will get deeper and it will be very, very exciting where maybe one day if you can sign somebody out of high school or it’s a one-and-done world and the draft is deeper, then you put them on your G-League team and now you’re promoting and you’re saying go to St. Elizabeth’s and go watch our future.”

“You want the G-League to be the second-best basketball league in the world. Right now you would say that the AHL in hockey is the second-best hockey league in the world. That should be our goal as a league,” he said.

Once the NBA’s minor league inevitably expands to an affiliate for each parent club (plus maybe an additional squad), I’d like to see each NBA team control the rights of all players on its affiliate. Right now, only players on NBA contracts (including two-ways) and draft picks who rejected required tenders have their rights exclusively held. Most minor-league players are NBA free agents.

That’d drive interest in the minor league, as fans would have stronger connection to their favorite franchise’s players. It’d also lead to minor-league wage increases, because teams would value player control.

A deeper draft would be most logical way to fill those minor-league roster spots with players tied exclusively to a certain team.