With the fourth coming CBA about to go into re-negotiation, what better time to look at a restructure of the NBA and how it ties in with the D-League.
The NBA Development League or D-League in its current incarnation is both underutilized and not reaching its spectator potential. Current teams in the league have at least one, but usually more NBA affiliate teams who at most assign rookie or injured players for a short period of time, otherwise these clubs run under their own management and fill the teams accordingly with players of their choice. At the moment non NBA contracted D-League players can sign to any NBA franchise from anything from 2 week contracts to full season deals.
Currently the NBA runs a roster of 15 players contracted, of which 12 are able to suit up. The 3 inactive players if fit will travel with their team and only suit up if reactivated. As of 2012, 23% of NBA players have spent time in the D-League.
The Association should consider a change to this current structure that sees NBA teams benefit further from the D-League as a resource, where the quality of game and personnel of the league would improve and most importantly fan interest increased.
What better year to trial this than in what is likely to be a lockout shortened season.
NBA Salary Cap is risen to 68 Million with a Tax level of 80 Millon
Rosters set per team to 20.
12 Players active at any time to the NBA team, all other roster players are automatically provisioned to the NBADL fit or injured.
NBA franchises have full management and coaching control over their D-League affiliate. ie: the Idaho Stampede becomes the Idaho Portland trailblazers.
The Las Vegas and Orlando Summer League is abolished.
Teams are allowed to rotate players through the NBA active list with 2 hours prior tip off notice. This way teams can carry certain types of players in their D-League affiliate that meet a certain tactical need for opponents.
The filling of NBADL rosters to meet player requirements outside of the NBA listed players is separate to the salary cap. Any player added to the NBADL roster is first optioned to the NBA franchise for signing, in a way they become restricted free agents.
Exactly 2 weeks following the NBA Draft, there is an NBADL draft where up to 4 players can be added. An additional 2 players per club can immediately be signed if the player being signed is not an american citizen. Moving out the NBADL rosters to 16. 8 NBA contracted players, 4 NBADL contracted and 2 international imports, and 2 free agent signings
NBADL season starts exactly 1 month before the NBA season, and play-offs to be completed by the beginning of the NBA play-offs. Teams who qualify for the NBA play-offs are allowed to activate all fit rostered players.
NBA teams are able to extend the terms of the minimum rookie contract to greater than 2 seasons.
NBA teams would end up being able to develop more players over a longer period of time. Less players will find them selves sitting deep on the bench, like Johnson, Babbitt, Mills, this year. All these players will remain match fit by playing in the NBADL. Lower roster spot players would have had the same amount of relevant game time fitness as any player they may be replacing.
Coaches will still be in control of their players at the lower level, franchises will be able to instruct their d-league coaches to execute certain defensive and offensive strategies that are similar to the NBA teams so players have less knowledge gap when transferring between teams
Fan interest in the D-League will increase as they will feel more ownership over their D League feeder, and show interest in how all their prospects are travelling during the season. Season ticket holders should be afforded free entry to D League games as part of the package.
There would be more opportunity for players exiting Collage too gain footholds into the NBA.
There would also be more opportunity for teams to develop players from other countries which may not have international level programs, as a result greater global interest in the NBA. and opportunities for owners to obtain more revenue through a secondary league.
Overall, more opportunity, money, playing time, and more basketball equals a better NBA for everybody.