The G League has arrived.
The rebranding of what had been known as the NBA Development League went into effect Tuesday, designed to coincide with NBA draft week - since it's certain many of the players who will be selected will spend some time in the G League this coming season.
It's a partnership with Gatorade, in a deal that was announced back in February, but the new name is no abbreviation: What was often called the D-League is now officially the ''NBA G League.''
''We're thrilled with this exciting new chapter for our league,'' G League President Malcolm Turner said. ''We're thrilled with the new brand identity and excited with this week in particular to make the announcement. First-round draft picks played in this league this past season, 22 second-round draft picks played in our league, so we've already been a big storyline in draft week because our league is an effective, efficient place to develop talent.''
That's never been more apparent, with the league swelling to a record 26 teams for the coming season - with hope that it grows to 30, one for each NBA franchise, soon. The league is likely to grow to at least 27 in the 2018-19 season.
Part of the deal with Gatorade calls for G League players to benefit from an association with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, which works with players on research and education to find how they can get the most out of their bodies.
''That's a very key part of all this,'' Turner said.
Some players in the G League this coming season will be on two-way contracts for the first time, since that feature will be added when the new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA and its players goes into effect on July 1. NBA teams will be able to have up to two players on such deals, where players would be primarily on a G League club and can be on the NBA team's active or inactive list for up to 45 days during the regular season.
Two-way players could make up to about $275,000.
The G League will continue to be both a proving ground and testing ground for the NBA. Pace of play ideas, as well as tinkering with four- and five-man officiating crews, have been worked on in what was the D-League, and the NBA will continue studying other ideas down there this season.
''We've grown a lot, very quickly,'' Turner said. ''But at the same time, we're a work in progress. We have a very bright and exciting future. We're well on our way with a record 26 teams on the floor. And once we realize our vision of having each of our teams align 1-to-1 with an NBA team, that's when it can get really interesting for us.''
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