Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sixers D-League affiliate will be Springfield

The NBA has announced its D-League affiliations for next season and the Sixers, along with the New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks, will be affiliated with the new team based in Springfield, Mass.

The NNA and NBA Development League, the official minor league of the NBA, announced the affiliation system for the 2009-10 season Monday, including the announcement of a direct single-affiliation partnership between the Houston Rockets and Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

For the fifth consecutive year, each NBA team has one NBA D-League affiliate to which it may assign players in their first or second NBA season.

The Rockets became the first NBA team to enter into a direct single-affiliation partnership with an NBA D-League team, granting the Rockets full control over the basketball operations of the Vipers. With the move, the Rockets will be the only parent-club of the team.

In a structure similar to other minor leagues, this new partnership model, previously referred to as the “hybrid affiliation,” allows for NBA teams to secure control over and cover the expenses related to the basketball operations of an NBA D-League team, while partnering with existing local ownership, who maintain responsibility for the off-the-court business operations of the team.

“The Houston Rockets’ groundbreaking decision to enter into a single-affiliation partnership with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers further demonstrates how much of an impact the NBA D-League is having on the NBA,” said NBA D-League President Dan Reed. “With 20 percent of NBA players now coming from the NBA Development League, it's no surprise that the Rockets are the fourth NBA team in as many years to secure full control over the basketball operations of an NBA D-League team. We're very excited about this trend and the positive impact our new direct affiliation model will make on the NBA D-League, the NBA, and current and future NBA players."

“Local owner Alonzo Cantu has done a great job integrating the Vipers into the community and we look forward to working with him to build upon the success they have already achieved,” said Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey. “This unique partnership with the Vipers affords us the opportunity to play a significant role in the development of our young players while also introducing a new and exciting brand of NBA-style basketball to fans in the Rio Grande Valley. We look forward to the mutual benefits the partnership will provide both organizations.”

The NBA D-League will again have 16 teams playing in 2009-10, including two new teams playing in the NorthEast – the Maine Red Claws, who will play in Portland, Maine, and a team in Springfield, Mass. The Red Claws will be affiliated with the Charlotte Bobcats and neighboring Boston Celtics, while the team in Springfield will be affiliated with the Nets, Knicks and 76ers.

“Over the last four years, NBA teams have embraced the affiliation system and it has flourished – more than 100 NBA players have been assigned to their NBA D-League affiliate, including five who played in the 2009 NBA Finals” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations for the NBA D-League. “Now, entering the system’s fifth season, it continues to be exciting for fans not only to watch top NBA prospects playing in the NBA D-League every night, but to follow the careers of NBA players who have benefited from their assignments.”

“We are excited to announce our affiliation with the Maine Red Claws,” said Danny Ainge, President of Basketball Operations for the Celtics. “Although our recent partnership with the Utah Flash was an extremely positive experience in every respect, having our NBA Development League affiliate just a short drive away from Boston will be an invaluable tool in the progression of our players as they strive to perfect their game and contribute at the NBA level.”

The NBA D-League continues to be a springboard for elite basketball talent, with more NBA players than ever boasting NBA D-League experience. Twenty percent of NBA players on 2008-09 end-of-season rosters had NBA D-League experience, while 29 of 30 NBA teams featured players with NBA D-League experience last season. Over the first four seasons of the NBA D-League's assignment system, NBA teams have assigned 116 players a total of 175 times to play in the NBA D-League.

“I am a true believer in the NBA D-League and it’s great to be affiliated with the Springfield franchise,” said Donnie Walsh, President of Basketball Operations, Knicks. “We have had a special relationship with the league, and we plan to continue that because it has great value to us.”

The affiliation system for the 2009-10 NBA D-League season features several noteworthy storylines:

· The Rockets begin their first season of the NBA D-League’s Vipers, having been affiliated with the team for the last two seasons. Over the last two years, Houston has assigned guard Aaron Brooks and forwards Steve Novak and Joey Dorsey to help further their development, while current Rockets Von Wafer and Chuck Hayes also honed their skills in the NBA D-League.

· The Red Claws, an expansion franchise for the 2009-2010 season will be affiliated with the Boston Celtics, the team for which Red Claws General Manager Jon Jennings used to be an assistant coach. Maine will also be affiliated with the Charlotte Bobcats.

· The San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City own their own NBA D-League teams -- the Austin Toros, L.A. D-Fenders, and Tulsa 66ers, respectively. Each squad has proven successful in aiding in the development of young NBA prospects, including Spurs center Ian Mahinmi, and Los Angeles guard Jordan Farmar.

Additionally, the NBA D-League's affiliation system is having a positive impact on recent NBA Draft picks, who are increasingly utilizing the system as a springboard to NBA success. More than 30 percent of players from the last three NBA Draft classes have played in the NBA D-League. Last season, 18 prospects from the 2008 NBA Draft played in the NBA D-League, including first-round selections Alexis Ajinca (No. 20), Kosta Koufos (No. 23), Donte Green (No. 28) D.J. White (No. 29) and J.R. Giddens (No. 30).

The NBA Development League, founded in 2001, is the NBA’s official minor league and featured 16 teams with direct affiliations to NBA teams during the 2008-09 season. This Fall, two new NBA D-League teams will begin play in Portland, Maine and Springfield, Mass.-- the birthplace of basketball. Eighty-four former NBA Development League players were on 2008-09 NBA end-of-season rosters, amounting to almost 20 percent of NBA players, and the league continues to develop coaches, referees, and front office staff for the NBA and its teams. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. The NBA D-League also advances the game of basketball as the research and development arm of the NBA. Throughout the season fans can watch all NBA D-League games on NBA Futurecast, the free live Web-streaming initiative found at nba.com/futurecast.

2009-10 NBA DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE TEAM AFFILIATIONS

Albuquerque Thunderbirds (NM)
Dallas Mavericks
New Orleans Hornets

Austin Toros (TX)
San Antonio Spurs

Bakersfield Jam (CA)
Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers

Dakota Wizards (Bismarck, ND)
Memphis Grizzlies
Washington Wizards

Erie BayHawks (PA)
Cleveland Cavaliers
Toronto Raptors

Fort Wayne Mad Ants (IN)
Detroit Pistons
Indiana Pacers
Milwaukee Bucks

Idaho Stampede (Boise, ID)
Portland Trail Blazers
Denver Nuggets

Iowa Energy (Des Moines, IA)
Chicago Bulls
Phoenix Suns

Los Angeles D-Fenders (CA)
Los Angeles Lakers

Maine Red Claws (Portland, ME)
Boston Celtics
Charlotte Bobcats

Reno Bighorns (NV)
Orlando Magic
Sacramento Kings

Rio Grande Valley Vipers (TX)
Houston Rockets

Sioux Falls Skyforce (SD)
Miami Heat
Minnesota Timberwolves

Springfield, Mass.
New Jersey Nets
New York Knicks
Philadelphia 76ers

Tulsa 66ers (OK)
Oklahoma City Thunder

Utah Flash (Orem, UT)
Atlanta Hawks
Utah Jazz
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