The NBA Development League plans to convert its ownership model into a structure in which franchises are owned by private investors but basketball operations are funded and controlled by its parent NBA teams.
The 16-team D-League, which next year will expand to 17 teams, has private ownership for all but three of its franchises. Three NBA teams the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder own their own D-League teams outright, but the leagues private ownership groups share multiple affiliations and fund both the business and basketball operations.
The D-League next year will begin to change to a more conventional minor league model in which parent NBA teams will begin to have single affiliations with minor league franchises and have full control of basketball operations. The league has just informed its teams of its conversion effort.
We are still changing the structure, but we are working on a model that will allow teams to control the basketball operations of the D-League teams without having to own the teams outright, said D-League President Dan Reed. NBA teams are interested in getting more control and giving the teams greater flexibility.
The new model, however, does not mean that the D-League will look for short-term expansion to 30 teams to allow each NBA team its own affiliation. Weve doubled the size of the league in three years, but we are not going to grow at that pace, Reed said. We want to make sure we are sustainable in our growth.
The D-League ended its 2008-09 regular season with an average attendance of 2,713 fans a game, down 3 percent from the 2007-08 average of 2,813, an all-time high for the league.
I agree that the PBL model is better. The D-league would be wise to follow that example.
First, allow someone with a vested interest in ONE team's success to make decisions for the entire league, definitely no conflict of interest there.
Next, when the rules don't benefit said team, change them.
Finally, fill the entire league with weak sister teams, and beat your chest loudly when you dominate.
So, next year I expect that Dakota and Iowa will each have their own league, with television contracts in China.