The NBA's emphasis on the D-League continues with a new rules adjustment.
The NBA has increased the number of players that teams can cut from their training camp rosters and still hold onto their D-League rights, a league spokesman told SI.com. The change was initially installed prior to the 2014-15 season.
NBA teams can now waive four training camp invitees (up from three) and make those individuals “affiliate players,” providing the player signs a D-League contract. The two sides typically discuss a potential D-League allocation while negotiating training camp contracts as well.
The process allows players to avoid entering the D-League draft pool and provides franchises with exclusive D-League rights to those players. However, if a team does not own the players’ NBA rights via the draft, the player is available to sign an NBA contract with all 30 teams.
NBA teams can invite as many as 20 players to training camp, but are allowed just 15 roster spots—only 13 can be active—during the the regular season. The new training camp increase now essentially guarantees 95% of all players invited to camp will have a roster spot within the NBA umbrella.
The subtle change is the latest in the NBA’s commitment to emphasizing the importance of the D-League. The Toronto Raptors purchased their D-League affiliate, Raptors 905, in late June, pushing the total of NBA teams that now fully own and operate a D-League affiliate to nine. The D-League will also feature a record 19 teams for the upcoming 2015-16 season.