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Old 10-03-2006, 10:26 AM   #1
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Default NBDL (D-League) Growing Pains

I recently read the SLAM magazine article on the NBDL. It's not where the NBA would like for it to be at this stage. The competition level is comparable to that in several minor leagues in America, even the ABA and CBA. Many NBA execs aren't too thrilled about this league, though there are some in high places like Timberwolves GM Kevin McHale and Nuggets coach George Karl who do support it. Maybe it's because the NBA is still getting accustomed to having a minor pro basketball league of its own creation instead of aligning with the likes of the CBA in years past. But I, like many, think it's great, despite a bit of what I said on the NBA age requirement controversy months ago, to have an outlet for young, unproven talent to have a consistent go ala minor league hockey and baseball as they pay their dues and develop better skills. But once they get to the big show, they'll likely be the 10th to 12th Man on the roster, and then there's the fierce competition from weary vets in both the NBDL and the NBA. Many of the players there are far from household names. Only a handful have been assigned. Problem is, control issues come into play: many GMs and coaching staffs don't want to see their own young players developing outside their own systems (teams share NBDL affiliates so they have to be neutral, three teams each share an affiliate), most players are reluctant to be sent down there like Ndudi Ebi who's now out of the NBA after complaining wanting to ride pine and reap millions than to play for, to them peanuts. Team can send first and second-year players there but no more three times a season and two at a time. There's no maximum or minimum length of stay there. Since there's no committment from the NBA movers and shakers, fans get a half-assed, mushy result that won't please everyone with low attendance even from its (south)westward expansion teams--Austin Toros, Tulsa 66ers, Alberquerque Thunderbirds (featuring quick Japanese point guard Yuta Tabutse who can't seem to harness it even in the NBDL level, making his brief appearance in Phoenix remarkable), Fort Worth Flyers, and the Arkansas RimRockers--even when they play in modest facilities by NBA standards.

I still call it the NBDL instead of its now current name the D-League. Already several teams have bit the dust over the years--the Asheville (NC) Altitude (despite winning last three NBDL titles), the Greenville (SC) Groove, Columbus (SC) Riverdragons, Huntsville (AL) Flight, North Charleston (SC) Lowgators, and Mobile (AL) Revelers. Only the Roanoke Dazzle and the Fayetteville Patriots still exist from the first season. One of the problems with thses teams was that they were located far beyond to where the NBA teams were based. When it started, there were located in the Southeastern region. The league still has aspirations of having a roster of at least 15 teams (two NBA teams for each franchise), if not 30 (one for each NBA franchise). Why didn't they locate the teams at the beginning, like they seem to be doing now closer to the NBA franchise bases? The Golden State Warriors are reluctant to send their rookie players down to their Fort Worth affiliate.

Then again, the league still has potential but still underdeveloped and in need of time to prove itself. Crowds are small and the atmosphere hokey. But there are some familiar names like Oklahome State's John Lucas III, draft project Ersan Ilyasova from Turkey, Bernard King Jr., former Portland State Viking Seamus Boxley, Peter John Ramos, and Cezary Trybanski. Plus former Altitude and current Toros head coach Joey Meyer, who succeeded his legendary dad Ray at DePaul University in 1984 and later went on to coach the fleeting ABA's Chicago Skyliners. Michael Cooper coaches the Thunderbirds. The league should observe minor league's AHL, who tend to have affiliates of their own in the lower levels. Heard some talk of a merger with the CBA.

More westward expansion is coming: the Bakersfield (CA) Jam arrives at an NBDL arena near you next season becoming the first NBDL West Coast team. (Didn't Bakersfield try to get an ABA team?) www.nba.com/dleague/bakersfield/bakersfield_index.html

Also, Sony's NBA video game series is the only one out of the NBA video games out there that features NBDL teams.

www.arenadigest.com/archives/2005/nov25_31.html
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Old 28-03-2006, 09:56 AM   #2
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Talks with the CBA have begun again with the possibility of a merger between the NBDL absorbing four of the CBA's stronger teams (like the Sioux Falls Skyforce) including the 2006-07 expansion Colorado 14ERS based in Broomfield, Colorado to put an end to the minor league basketball war between them. A merger will give NBA teams more control over sending down and calling up players. Though the Yakima Sun Kings, whom Ronny Turiaf played in a rehab stint from heart surgery before joining the Now Deservedly Crumbling Evil Laker Empire, lead the CBA in attendance, there's concern about its long-term financial committment involving its owners, the Yakima Indian Tribe.

www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artic ... 002/SPORTS
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Old 31-03-2006, 09:04 AM   #3
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As I stated earlier, many NBA teams were originally reluctant to send their players down there. But as the season went along, more players like Portland's seldom-used Marvin Webster were sent the NBDL affiliates with good results. Marcus Fizer was recently called up. Now it's becoming a farm system instead of providing reinforcements for NBA teams. 19 teams have sent one player each, including five first-rounders, to their affiliates. With talks about merging with the CBA still ongoing (a good idea), promotional works must step up out of the NBA marketing genuises to really make the farm system work.

www.nytimes.com/2006/03/28/sports/baske ... 0&emc=eta1
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Old 07-04-2006, 02:25 PM   #4
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Much of the credit goes to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement encouraging players to be sent to the D-League for player development, something which wasn't formally discussed in the previous CBA.
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Old 08-04-2006, 06:54 AM   #5
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OK. It's official: the NBDL is going to expand by absorbing the four strongest CBA franchises next season. Wish Yakima was included, maybe later if the situation gets worked out.
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Old 13-04-2006, 03:15 AM   #6
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Another team has been announced to join the NBDL: Anahiem, the leading light that is Orange County in the Greater LA area, continues the NBDL's westward expansion.

As some of you know, the Clippers used to play some of their home games at the nearby Arrowhead Pond before moving to the Staples Center. There are several ABA teams in the area (Southern California Legends, Inglewood Cobras, Orange County Buzz, and Los Angeles Aftershocks). So, I wonder how they will be impacted by this. Anahiem almost had an ABA team in the resurrected league's first season--the Anahiem Roadrunners--but it died before playing a game. In the original ABA's first, the city had the Anahiem Amigos, which later moved to Los Angeles and became the Stars. I would expect Anahiem to already get an NBA franchise or get the Clippers to play at the Pond.

Speaking of which, I hear the Clippers are going to run this. Glad it's not the NDCELE.

www.nba.com/dleague/news/anahiem_060411.html

In other NBDL news, New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets have called up NBDL MVP Marcus Fizer for the remainder of the season. Hope his veteran savvy will help the young team at least try to make a strong playoff push in the end and knock off that wretched Evil Empire from the playoffs.
www.usbasket.com/nbdl/nbdl.asp
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Old 13-04-2006, 03:38 PM   #7
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How long before each NBA team has its own NBDL affiliate I wonder, 5-10 years?
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Old 22-04-2006, 03:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleA
How long before each NBA team has its own NBDL affiliate I wonder, 5-10 years?
Actually a lot sooner than that it seems now...

The Charlotte Bobcats could very well be the sole owner and operator of the Fayetteville Patriots.
www.fayettevillenc.com/article?id=231400

Here's how the NBA NBDL allocation stands as of this season:

Alberquerque Thunderbirds--Phoenix, Utah, Sacramento, Seattle
Arkansas Rimrockers--Atlanta, Cleveland, Memphis, Toronto
Austin Toros--Denver, Houston, San Antonio, Los Angeles Clippers
Fayetteville Patriots--Charlotte, New York, Detroit
Florida Flame--Boston, Miami, Minnesota, Orlando
Fort Worth Flyers--Dallas, Golden St., Portland, NDCELE
Roanoke Dazzle--New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington
Tulsa 66ERS--Chicago, Indiana, Milwaukee, New Orleans/Oklahoma City

With the new wave of expansion coming in next season, here's how I project on the NBA allocation:

Colorado 14ERS--Denver (easily)
Bakersfield Jam--Golden St., Sacramento
Anahiem--Los Angeles Clippers (easily)
Sioux Falls Skyforce--Chicago
Dakota Wizards--Minnesota
Idaho Stampede--Seattle, Portland, Utah

It's only right and beneficial that NBA teams would have their farm teams reasonably close to their primary NBA headquarters. With this expansion, travel costs will go down.

In other NBDL news, the Arkansas RimRockers have removed GM Otis Birdsong, effective May 1, to cut operation costs. www.nwanews.com/adg/Sports/152434/

John Brunelle, Idaho Stampede's GM since 2001 and team president since 2004, has resigned with Steve Brandis taking over on May 1.
http://www2.kbcitv.com/x71248.xml
www.oursportscentral.com/services/releases/?id=3297606

Very disturbing news: David Stern has sadly granted permission for the Now Deservedly Crumbling Evil Laker Empire to use it oppressive tentacles to create a NBDL franchise in its hopes to ressurrect and regenerate. This franchise, which will only and forever be referred to as the (Now Deservedly Crumbling) Evil Laker Empire NBDL Chapter (or Division, if you prefer) will begin play next season as well. Now it's going to have reinforcements in its mindless quest for re-domination. The NDCELE WNBA Chapter (and My Stupid Evil Pony) is bad enough.

Saturday, the Alberquerque Thunderbirds and the Ft. Worth Flyers will play for the NBDL title to become new champs. The Ashville Altitude won last season but either ceased operations or went westward.
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Old 22-04-2006, 08:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Durbansandshark
Saturday, the Alberquerque Thunderbirds and the Ft. Worth Flyers will play for the NBDL title to become new champs.
New Zealand Breakers' import Rich Melzer will be playing for the Thunderbirds in this game. Since joining them shortly after the completion of the ANBL season, he's been a bit of a sixth-man for them averaging 10ppg off the bench but more weirdly so, doing a decent amount of 3pt shooting and doing it well at 50%
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Old 23-04-2006, 03:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Essen
Quote:
Originally Posted by Durbansandshark
Saturday, the Alberquerque Thunderbirds and the Ft. Worth Flyers will play for the NBDL title to become new champs.
New Zealand Breakers' import Rich Melzer will be playing for the Thunderbirds in this game. Since joining them shortly after the completion of the ANBL season, he's been a bit of a sixth-man for them averaging 10ppg off the bench but more weirdly so, doing a decent amount of 3pt shooting and doing it well at 50%
That sounds like Arydas Sabonis' 3-pt percentages.
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Old 23-04-2006, 03:35 PM   #11
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Albuquerque won the championship game 119-108.

Rich Melzer only played 15 minutes but still managed 13 points at 5/6 FG (2/2 3pt) and 1/1 FT while also chipping in with 2 assists and 2 steals.
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Old 03-05-2006, 06:20 AM   #12
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The Roanoke Dazzle have ceased operations yesterday. It was believed that since their lease at the Roanoke Civic Center was up this year, they were not going to survive with their home attendence so low. If it stuck around, would Washington be interested? Probrably not.
www.roanoke.com/sports/probasketball/wb/63392

As if that wasn't enough, the NBDL has announced today that it is terminating the Fayetteville Patriots after five years, also thanks to poor fan support. I thought and hoped, since it's within the state, the Charlotte Bobcats could operate it as its farm club. www.nba.com/dleague/news/fayetteville_060502.html

That means that not only leaves one team in the Southeastern region, where the league teams were first based as the league goes westward, (Florida Flames) but none of the charter franchises from the NBDL's first season will be around come next season. I was hoping they cut down on travel costs with their presence. All prominent references to those clubs have since been eliminated from the league's website.
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Old 05-05-2006, 06:37 AM   #13
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The Fayetteville Patriots has lost at least in the millions in its five years of operation in the NBDL, though the exact amount wasn't disclosed. Another factor working against them was, like the Roanoke Dazzle, was the issue with the lease at the Crown Colisuem that was to expire Sept 30 with a 150-day notice of its intentions. This small city is no stranger to losing minor sports teams (GBA's Fayetteville Flyers, af2's Cape Fear Wildcats, Class A baseball's Cape Fear Crocs, and SHL's Fayetteville Fire Ants). Things started out so well.
www.fayettevillenc.com/article?id=232184 www.fayettevillenc.com/article?id=232233

Meanwhile, the Bakersfield Jam have announced their new President, Laura Mae Divina, while announcing their new logo. www.nba.com/dleague/bakersfield/divina_060501.html

Rumours abound that Richmond, Virginia will get an expansion NBDL franchise in time for the 2007-08 season. Talks fell through with the Roanoke Dazzle to move there when they ceased operations.

I think it was a mistake to start things out for the NBDL in a small cities in retrospect. As for Roanoke, the Civic Center will not take in any pro sports for now and instaed just focus on ice shows, circuses, high school basketball tournaments, and concerts
www.roanoke.com/sports/probasketball/wb/63349
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Old 10-05-2006, 05:22 AM   #14
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The NBDL will have 12 teams coming into the 2006-07 season:

Alberquerque Thunderbirds
Anahiem
Arkansas RimRockers
Austin Toros
Bakersfield Jam
Colorado 14ERS
Dakota Wizards
Ft. Worth Flyers
Idaho Stampede
Now Deservedly Crumbling Evil Laker Empire--NBDL Chapter
Sioux Falls Skyforce
Tulsa 66ERS

The Florida Flame will not take part in the upcoming season because of scheduling conflicts and availability issues at the TECO Arena. The Flame ownership group are looking at alternative venues for the 2007-08 season.

www.nba.com/dleague
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Old 10-05-2006, 01:15 PM   #15
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Actually the name of the arena in Estero is Germain Arena. The main tenant of Germain is a AA-level ice hockey team (Everblades).

Germain Automotive is a chain of auto dealerships in the area, focusing mostly on Toyota.
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Old 10-05-2006, 10:34 PM   #16
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Do the NBDL franchises hire alot of staff and how much experience is needed?

Does each club have a media/pr/communications officer?

Would an overseas person be able to get work in the NBA via this route?
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Old 11-05-2006, 06:31 AM   #17
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Thanks for the correction on the arena's name, Bobby. I do know that the Florida Everblades hockey team is Germain Arena's main tenant.

Gary Fluharty and his ownership group have mentioned looking into Gulf Coast University's Alico Arena and Fort Myer's Harborside Events Center as possible options for a new home while not ruling out either moving the team, selling it, or ceasing operations alltogether. An upscale indoor sports palace isn't really needed to serve as a home for an NBDL team, not even in a major city.

Correct me if I'm wrong, because of the fact that NBDL teams with the exception of the NDCELE NBDL Chapter and possibly the Anahiem team, the staff will be entirely different from what the NBA teams have. Surely, they would have a media/public relations personnel. Am ignorant about the immigration aspect for NBDL team employment. I think they can take a few overseas people, given how the basketball game is getting smaller worldwide.
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Old 12-05-2006, 05:05 AM   #18
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Other factors that led to the Patriots' demise happened to be a lack of effort--even discouraging--in attracting local sponsorship and ownership (the NBA owned all of the now-defunct original teams in that league that were located in the southeastern US until a few seasons ago), a requisite in minor league sports. It just wanted the team to sell tickets, despite having an average of 2500-3000 fans show up at home at the Crown Center, and make a fan base out of 2000 season ticket holders. It led the league in attendance for three years.

Another thing against them was being situated in an area where college basketball rules (Duke, NC State, North Carolina, UNC-Charlotte)--The Triangle. On paper, it may seem that Fayetteville was ready for minor league basketball but just wasn't, in spite of past teams like the Fayetteville Flyers, but they're not solidly established. Again, why didn't the Charlotte Bobcats think about taking ownership of the team, did they?

www.fayettevillenc.com/article?id=232786
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Old 16-05-2006, 11:23 AM   #19
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Great question.

An interesting bit of NBDL history and how it joins along with the BAA in 1946 (the predecessor of the NBA) was how the original BAA was formed by arenas with NHL and AHL teams, the NBDL's roots started in venues with minor league hockey which needed other tenants to help make some revenue.

When the NBDL started in 2001, four of the eight NBDL arenas were shared with ECHL teams, including the reigning ECHL Kelly Cup champion. In 2002, the NBDL Championship and ECHL Kelly Cup were both property of the Bi-Lo Center, which also hosted an NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament game amid protests which led to the venue being permanently banned from hosting the event because activists complaining of a Cross of St. Andrew flag flying in a government building 175 km from Greenville.

Asheville, North Carolina
Columbus, Georgia (East Coast; team now in Southern Professional)
Fayetteville, North Carolina (currently has a Southern Professional)
Greenville, South Carolina (East Coast)
Huntsville, AL (University of Alabama-Huntsville; currently has a Southern Professional)
Mobile, AL (East Coast; team now in Duluth, GA)
North Charleston, South Carolina (East Coast)
Roanoke, Virginia (East Coast; team disbanded in 2004)
[/quote]
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Old 27-05-2006, 11:08 AM   #20
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Disappointing to see the shift away from the SE USA for the D-League, I know in the case of Huntsville there were scheduling conflicts at the VBC with the Flight,UAH Chargers and a semi-pro team all competeing for the venue.
Unfortunatly not enough dates to go around, so something had to give and it was the Flight.
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Old 09-06-2006, 08:31 AM   #21
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It is a shame the southeastern US is without NBDL basketball. When new or resurrected franchise pops up in the next several years, venue negotitians (for dates in one example) and local businesses must be high in priority to make it work and succeed there. Eventually, some representation in the US southeast has to happen again down the road.

As of May 22, all former CBA teams moving into the NBDL had make their adjustments final.

The incoming Dakota Wizards have named Dave Joeger in a return engagement to the team. He succeeds Dave Bliss who resigned following a disasterous 19-29 season. Joeger previously coached the Sioux Falls Skyforce when both teams were in the CBA. He's more than pleased to be back.

The Now Deservedly Crumbling Evil Laker Empire has just completed a contest for its worshippers of evil to pick out a name for the NDCELE NBDL Chapter. It came down to two names, which I will NEVER use and repeat on these boards (nor should anyone else ). I will give you a hint though, one of them is also used by one the NBL teams.

The Colorado 14ers named former CBA commissioner Gary Hunter as their President and CEO.

www.usbasket.com/nbdl/nbdl.asp
www.nba.com/dleague
http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/060601/lath110.html?.v=40
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Old 15-06-2006, 08:28 AM   #22
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The NBDL 2006-07 NBA team affiliations made official today:

Alberquerque Thunderbirds--Phoenix, Cleveland, Indiana
Anahiem--LA Clippers, Portland, Orlando
Arkansas RimRockers--Atlanta, Memphis, Miami
Austin Toros--Boston, Houston, San Antonio
Bakersfield Jam--Golden St., Sacramento
Colorado 14ERS--Denver, New Jersey, Toronto
Dakota Wizards--Chicago, Washington
Ft. Worth Flyers--Dallas, Charlotte, Philadelphia
Idaho Stampede--Seattle, Utah
NDCELE NBDL Chapter--Now Deservedly Crumbling Evil Laker Empire
Sioux Falls Skyforce--Detroit, Minnesota
Tulsa 66ERS--Milwaukee, New Orleans/Oklahoma City, New York

Disgraced former Georgia Bulldogs coach Jim Harrick, who almost joined the Vancouver ABA franchise, was named the first head coach of the Bakersfield Jam.

www.nba.com/dleague
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Old 29-06-2006, 09:03 AM   #23
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The Anahiem NBDL team unvieled its name: The Anahiem Arsenal (sounds like a soccer team) www.nba.com/dleague/anahiem www.anahiemprobasketball.com

Also the new incoming CBA defectees: Sioux Falls Skyforce, Dakota Wizards, and the Idaho Stampede all have new logos. Their previous ones all weren't bad with the Skyforce being the least detailed, but it's probrably a way to mark their entry into the NBDL. The logos aren't yet on the NBDL's website (including the Arsenal), but a look at www.wikipedia.org should get you a look at them by typing in the team of your choice.

As for the NDCELE NBDL Chapter, that wretched team will play at the Staples Center for home games until the 10,500-seat Ontario Community Events Center is completed in 2007.
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Old 25-07-2006, 11:17 AM   #24
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The divisional alignment for the 2006-07 NBDL season:

Eastern Division
Arkansas RimRockers
Austin Toros
Dakota Wizards
Ft. Worth Flyers
Sioux Falls Skyforce
Tulsa 66ers

Western Division
Albuquerque Thunderbirds
Anahiem Arsenal
Bakersfield Jam
Colorado 14ers
Idaho Stampede
Now Deservedly Crumbling Evil Laker Empire NBDL Chapter

For the first time the NBDL will have its own All-Star game as part of the NBA All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas on Saturday, February 17 at the Jam Session Court Center following the NBA Western and Eastern All-Star practices. The teams will be selected by a vote from fans and D-League players and coaches. Process for this will be finalized and released n the future. Head coaches with the team's best record are to be named two weeks prior to the game.

Ike Austin, former Utah Snowbears coach, GM, and owner and former NBAer, was named as assistant coach and Director of Basketball Operations of the Bakersfield Jam under Jim Harrick.

Another former NBAer Larry Smith, who starred at Alcorn St. and played mostly for the Golden St. Warriors and Houston Rockets before taking the interim head coaching reigns with Houston in 2003, is now the head coach for the Anahiem Arsenal. He last served as an assistant for NBDL champs the Thunderbirds.

I forgot to mention that the Bakersfield Jam actually has roots as the ABA's Long Beach Jam.

The NBDL season begins on November 24 with five games to emphasize cross-regional and cross-town rivalries.

The Now Deserevedly Crumbling Evil Laker Empire NBDL Chapter has their name announced. But HELL NO, I WILL NOT nor will I EVER mention this team's name! Go ahead and click it. (You expect this kind of stuff out of me). I WILL tell you that it got thankfully chosen ahead of what is also used for a NBL team (the Breakers, the other finalist) over 63 others. Official announcement of this monstrosity is delayed until a logo is finalized for it. Their first game will be a road game against the Arsenal on Nov 24. GO ARSENAL!!!

www.nba.com/dleague
www.nba.com/dleague/anahiem
www.usbasket.com/nbdl/nbdl.asp

UPDATE: Some older news that I just got into: there was a possibility that Reno, Nevada would go into the NBDL instead of the CBA with the Reno (or Northern Nevada) Blackjacks or with a whole another name, but this was in mid-June, and the NBDL's 2006-07 schedule is just up. So it's likely it will join Spokane as the other two teams in the CBA next season.
http://news.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artic ... 18/SPORTS/
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Old 17-08-2006, 06:50 AM   #25
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As is the case for the ABA teams, several NBDL teams are conducting open tryouts at this time, all under the watchful eye of their coaches.

Speaking of coaches, Morris McHone, who made his name in the minor pro basketball ranks, returns to coach the Sioux Falls Skyforce, a team that he led to the 1995-1996 CBA title with a 142-82 record with them. A two-time CBA Coach of ther Year, He previously coached the CBA's Birmingham Bandits in the early 1990s before the team fizzled and the Yakima Sun Kings. His biggest gig was during the 1983-84 NBA season with the San Antonio Spurs succeeding Stan Albeck who went to coach New Jersey, but McHone get fired during the middle of the season and GM Bob Bass took over. It is considered one of the lost seasons for the Spurs in its history--the team failed to make the playoffs that time as its big stars were injury-riddled.

Idaho Stampede named Bryan Gates as their new head coach.

The Colorado 14ers has reportedly named former North Carolina Tar Heel and journeyman NBAer Joe Wolf as its first head coach, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Wolf (drafted by the LA Clippers in 1987) previously coached the Idaho Stampede in the CBA last season for two years before resigning.

Oh yeah, if you're interested in the NDCELE NBDL Chapter team and logo,
go ahead and click on this.

www.nba.com/dleague

UPDATE: The NDCELE NBDL Chapter has named their first coach yesterday in the hopes of unleashing their evil wrath. He's Dan Panaggio, who has been around the blocks in minor league basketball for many years and whose father Mauro is a minor league coaching legend. He coached the Quad City Thunder in the CBA (like his father did and had Mo Cheeks as an assistant then) and after that he spent four years as an assistant with the Trail Blazers and did the same at Indiana University.
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