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Report: Multi-team D-League expansion expected for next season

Fort Wayne Mad Ants v Santa Cruz Warriors - 2015 D-League Finals Game Two

Fort Wayne Mad Ants v Santa Cruz Warriors - 2015 D-League Finals Game Two

NBAE/Getty Images

The D-League now has 19 teams with 19 NBA affiliates.

The Hornets announced they’ll have their own D-League team – next season, they hope.

But they reportedly wouldn’t be the only D-League franchise to launch next season.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

Sources close to the process expect more D-League teams next season.
Sources close to the process peg the annual costs of running a D-League team at just around $2 million per season.

Beyond Charlotte, 10 other NBA teams lack a D-League affiliate:

  • Hawks
  • Nets
  • Bulls
  • Nuggets
  • Clippers
  • Bucks
  • Timberwolves
  • Pelicans
  • Trail Blazers
  • Wizards

Several of those teams have talked about adding a D-League affiliate, but the Hawks might be most concrete. They hired an executive to usher in an new team, and president/coach Mike Budenholzer called Atlanta having its own affiliate “critical.”

The Hawks would also make sense, because the Hornets are looking to place a team in the Carolinas. Another Southeast team could make D-League scheduling easier.

I don’t think we’re far from a 30-team D-League with each NBA team having its own affiliate, but it will take time. That $2 million per season sounds cheap, but franchise fees reportedly run about $6 million. Not every NBA team will pay that – though it seems at least a couple will next year.