Beginning with the 2014-15 D-League season, NBA D-League players on a NBA teams’s “draft list” can be directly acquired by the affiliate of the NBA team that holds his draft rights, the D-League announced.
The rule allows D-League players to forgo the D-League draft and waiver wire, while giving them the opportunity to immediately play for the D-League affiliate at any point of the season. If they join the affiliate during the season, the team has 24 hours to claim or renounce his draft rights.
The old rule only protected a few players, specifically the ones cut from a NBA team’s training camp, and even so, the NBA team could not own their draft rights to protect them. The new rule safeguards the affiliate, and perhaps incentives NBA teams to utilize their D-League team effectively.
“More easily enabling an NBA D-League player on an NBA team’s ‘draft list’ to join that team’s NBA D-League affiliate is a very important step in the continued evolution of our development system,” said Dan Reed, NBA D-League President. “As more and more NBA teams are investing in their own exclusive NBA D-League affiliate, this rule change will lead to improved development opportunities that will benefit our players and the league as a whole.”
The NBA plans on adding D-League teams in the future, ideally expanding it to 30 teams, and giving each NBA team an individual affiliate. Until then, the D-League will not be a “true” minor league system, but they are making inroads every year.
Perhaps in the near future, a superstar kid will seriously consider entering the D-League and forgoing a traditional college basketball path.