NBA Development Leauge
The NBA Development League, or D-League, is the National Basketball Association's officially sponsored and operated developmental basketball organization. Known until summer 2005 as the National Basketball Development League (NBDL), the D-League started with eight teams in the fall of 2001. In March 2005, NBA commissioner David Stern announced a plan to expand the D-League to fifteen teams and develop it into a true minor league farm system, with two NBA teams sharing each D-League team. For 2006-07, the league will have 12 teams, with each D-League team being affiliated with between 1 and 3 NBA teams.
The league began play as the NBDL in the 2001-2002 season; the original eight franchises were all located in the southeastern United States (specifically in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia). Some of these teams were purchased by private owners and relocated — at the same time the league's name was changed — in the summer of 2005 in a bid to appeal to more fans nationwide. As a result, franchises were established in or moved to Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Florida and Oklahoma. In 2006, the D-League is taking an even further westward direction, as in February the Bakersfield Jam announced their entry into the league, being the first team from California. Two months later, the league announced that four teams from the Continental Basketball Association were joining the league: the Dakota Wizards, Sioux Falls Skyforce, Idaho Stampede, and a team originally slated for CBA expansion, the Colorado 14ers. A few days after that, the league announced that Anaheim, California, would be getting a team. One week after that, they announced that the Los Angeles Lakers have purchased a team, making them the first NBA team to own a D-League team. The westward expansion and box office struggles have led to the closing of the NBA-owned Roanoke Dazzle and Fayetteville Patriots. The Florida Flame have suspended operations due to arena scheduling difficulties (but hope to return in 2007-08). It appears that league expansion is already underway for the 2007-08 season, as the owners of the Utah Jazz have announced a new expansion team in Orem, Utah to begin play then. Also, a Rio Grande Valley team has been announced to begin play that same season. The league hopes to have at least 16 teams for 2007-08.
Many former NBA draftees and waived players participated in the league's inaugural season. Soon, NBA teams began signing successful players from the NBDL. Some of the more successful NBA players who have played in the NBDL/D-League include Rafer Alston, Matt Carroll, Chris Andersen, Devin Brown, Bobby Simmons, Marcus Fizer, Mateen Cleaves, and Smush Parker.