NBA G League

Last updated

NBA G League
Current season, competition or edition:
Basketball current event.svg 2023–24 NBA G League season
NBA G League logo.svg
The NBA G League's logo
FormerlyNBA D-League
Sport Basketball
First season 2001–02
President Shareef Abdur-Rahim
No. of teams31
Countries United States (29 teams)
Canada (1 team)
Mexico (1 team)
Continents North America
Most recent
Oklahoma City Blue
(1st title)
Most titles Rio Grande Valley Vipers
(4 titles)
TV partner(s)
Sponsor(s) Gatorade
Official website

The NBA G League, or simply the G League, is the official minor league organization of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The league was known as the National Basketball Development League (NBDL) from 2001 to 2005, and the NBA Development League (NBA D-League) from 2005 until 2017. [1] The league started with eight teams until NBA commissioner David Stern announced a plan to expand the NBA D-League to 15 teams and develop it into a true minor league farm system, with each NBA D-League team affiliated with one or more NBA teams in March 2005. At the conclusion of the 2013–14 NBA season, 33% of NBA players had spent time in the NBA D-League, up from 23% in 2011. As of the 2023–24 season, the league consists of 31 teams, 29 of which are either single-affiliated or owned by an NBA team, along with the NBA G League Ignite exhibition team, which was folded by the league at the end of the season. Within the G League, players have the chance to get a contract from a current NBA team, and can land themselves a spot on an official roster.


In the 2017–18 season, Gatorade became the title sponsor of the D-League, and it was renamed the NBA G League. [1] [2]


National Basketball Development League (2001–2005)

On June 13, 2000, NBA Commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Russ Granik announced the formation of the National Basketball Development League, to begin play in November 2001, with players required to be at least twenty years old. This was not the first time the league had their own minor league system, as they had used the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) as a developmental league for over two decades. The NBA had attempted to buy the CBA in March 2000, but they were rejected. [3] [4]

The league began its play as the National Basketball Development League (NBDL) in the 2001–02 season; the eight franchises [1] [5] were all located in the southeastern United States (in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia). Each team logo was given an NBDL branding that was differentiated by team colors. [6]

Eight players were called up to the NBA during the season, which included Chris Andersen, the very first player drafted by a NBDL team. The league secured deals with sponsors such as Reebok along with television broadcasting in deals with ESPN2 and Fox Sports South to broadcast select games during the first season (such as the NBDL Finals), which made them one of few minor league operations to have nationally televised games. The Greenville Groove won the first NBDL championship on April 8, 2002, after winning game 2 over the North Charleston Lowgators. [7] [8] The league saw an average attendance of 1,640 fans per game, lower than what the NBA expected. [9]

NBA Development League (2005–2017)

In 2005, the league's name was changed to NBA Development League (NBA D-League) [1] as part of the new collective bargaining agreement with the NBA and a bid to appeal to more fans by showing their connection to the “major league” aka the NBA. . [10] In the same offseason, Southwest Basketball, LLC led by David Kahn was granted permission by the league to operate four new teams. [11] Southwest Basketball then purchased three existing franchises and one expansion team: the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, Austin Toros, Fort Worth Flyers [12] and the Tulsa 66ers. [13] The Arkansas RimRockers were also added from the ABA for the 2005–06 season. In February 2006, the D-League expanded to California with the addition of the Bakersfield Jam. Two months later, the league announced that four teams from the CBA were joining the league: the Dakota Wizards, Sioux Falls Skyforce, Idaho Stampede, and a team originally slated for CBA expansion, the Colorado 14ers. [14] Shortly after, the league announced expansion teams in the Anaheim Arsenal [15] and the Los Angeles D-Fenders. The D-Fenders became the first D-League team to be directly owned by an NBA parent team, the Los Angeles Lakers. [16]

However, the westward expansion contributed to the contraction of the NBA-owned Roanoke Dazzle [17] and Fayetteville Patriots for that season. [18] The Florida Flame suspended operations due to arena scheduling difficulties. [19] After the 2006–07 season, there would be no more teams in the southeastern United States until the 2016 expansion team, the Greensboro Swarm.

After the 2006 to 2009 expansions, the league membership was fairly consistent with only a few relocations and suspensions. In 2009, the Houston Rockets entered into the first single-affiliation partnership, called the hybrid model, with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. This began a wave of NBA and D-League teams entering into single-affiliation agreements of both the hybrid and parent-team owned varieties. With more NBA involvement, the league once again began to expand and spread its footprint.

By 2015, the last multiple-affiliate team, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, was purchased by the Indiana Pacers leading to the first season where all D-League teams were affiliated with only one NBA team. As there were no longer any unaffiliated D-League teams left, the remaining NBA teams began purchasing expansion franchises or hybrid partnership teams and placing them near the parent team. In 2015, the Toronto Raptors placed their own team, Raptors 905, in the Greater Toronto Area in Mississauga, Ontario. [20] [21] In 2016, the D-League expanded by three more NBA parent club-owned teams for the largest D-League expansion since 2007. The Charlotte Hornets created the Greensboro Swarm, the Brooklyn Nets created the Long Island Nets, and the Chicago Bulls created the Windy City Bulls. [22]

NBA G League (2017–present)

In the 2017–18 season, the D-League entered into a multi-year partnership with Gatorade and announced it would be rebranded as the NBA Gatorade League, [2] [5] which was officially shortened to "NBA G League" prior to the season. [23] [24] It also continued its membership changes with the relocation of the Erie BayHawks to Lakeland, Florida, as the Lakeland Magic, a new Erie BayHawks franchise, and expansions in the Agua Caliente Clippers in Ontario, California (now known as the San Diego Clippers), the Memphis Hustle in Southaven, Mississippi, and the Wisconsin Herd in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The Los Angeles D-Fenders would also re-brand to the South Bay Lakers. [25]

In December 2017, the NBA and the live-streaming website Twitch announced that they would broadcast G League games on Twitch. [26] Games have also been aired on the ESPN Plus subscription service.[ citation needed ]

For the 2019–20 season, the G League began to offer select contracts to players who are not yet eligible to enter the NBA draft. [27] Since 2006, players must be at least nineteen years old by the end of the calendar year, creating what became known as the "one-and-done" rule where players joined a college basketball team for one season and would then leave for the NBA. [28] The new select contract was to be an alternative for players who do not want to or cannot attend a college, worth up to $125,000 for a season. [29] The league launched its prospects team, the NBA G League Ignite, in 2020.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic-curtailed 2019–20 season, the G League postponed the start of the following season. In January 2021, the league announced it would play all games at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, using the same isolation bubble as the 2020 NBA Bubble. Many teams opted out of participation, with 17 of the 28 teams from the 2019–20 season plus the new Ignite prospects team choosing to take part in the abbreviated bubble season beginning in February 2021. [30]


Current teams

TeamCityPodArenaCapacityFoundedJoinedHead coachNBA affiliate
Eastern Conference
Birmingham Squadron Birmingham, Alabama South Legacy Arena 17,6542019 [lower-alpha 1] T. J. Saint New Orleans Pelicans
Capital City Go-Go Washington, D.C. East Entertainment and Sports Arena 4,200 [31] 2018 Cody Toppert Washington Wizards
Cleveland Charge Cleveland, Ohio Central Public Auditorium 10,0002001 [lower-alpha 2] Mike Gerrity Cleveland Cavaliers
College Park Skyhawks College Park, Georgia East Gateway Center Arena 3,5002017 [lower-alpha 1] Steve Gansey Atlanta Hawks [32]
Delaware Blue Coats Wilmington, Delaware East Chase Fieldhouse 2,5002007 [lower-alpha 3] Mike Longabardi Philadelphia 76ers
Grand Rapids Gold Grand Rapids, Michigan Central Van Andel Arena 11,5002006 [lower-alpha 4] Andre Miller Denver Nuggets
Greensboro Swarm Greensboro, North Carolina South Novant Health Fieldhouse 2,5002016Jordan Surenkamp Charlotte Hornets
Indiana Mad Ants [lower-alpha 5] Noblesville, Indiana Central Noblesville Event Center 3,4002007 [lower-alpha 6] Tom Hankins Indiana Pacers
Long Island Nets Uniondale, New York East Nassau Coliseum 13,5002016Mfon Udofia Brooklyn Nets
Maine Celtics Portland, Maine East Portland Exposition Building 3,1002009Blaine Mueller Boston Celtics
Motor City Cruise Detroit, Michigan Central Wayne State Fieldhouse 3,0002003 [lower-alpha 7] 2006Jamelle McMillan Detroit Pistons
Osceola Magic Kissimmee, Florida South Silver Spurs Arena 8,0002008 [lower-alpha 1] Dylan Murphy Orlando Magic
Raptors 905 Mississauga, Ontario East Paramount Fine Foods Centre 5,0002015Eric Khoury Toronto Raptors [21]
Westchester Knicks White Plains, New York East Westchester County Center 5,0002014 DeSagana Diop New York Knicks
Windy City Bulls Hoffman Estates, Illinois Central Now Arena 10,0002016 William Donovan III Chicago Bulls
Wisconsin Herd Oshkosh, Wisconsin Central Oshkosh Arena 3,5002017 Beno Udrih Milwaukee Bucks
Western Conference
Austin Spurs Cedar Park, Texas South H-E-B Center at Cedar Park 7,2002001 [lower-alpha 8] Will Voigt San Antonio Spurs
Capitanes de Ciudad de México Mexico City, Mexico South Mexico City Arena 22,30020172021 Ramón Díaz Sánchez None
Iowa Wolves Des Moines, Iowa Central Wells Fargo Arena 16,1102007Ernest Scott Minnesota Timberwolves
Memphis Hustle Southaven, Mississippi South Landers Center 8,3622017Jason March Memphis Grizzlies
Oklahoma City Blue Oklahoma City, Oklahoma West Paycom Center 18,2032001 [lower-alpha 9] Kameron Woods Oklahoma City Thunder
Rio Grande Valley Vipers Edinburg, Texas South Bert Ogden Arena 9,0002007 Kevin Burleson Houston Rockets
Rip City Remix Portland, Oregon West Chiles Center 4,8522023 Jim Moran Portland Trail Blazers
Salt Lake City Stars West Valley City, Utah West Maverik Center 12,5001997 [lower-alpha 10] 2006 Steve Wojciechowski Utah Jazz [33]
San Diego Clippers Oceanside, California West Frontwave Arena 7,5002017 [lower-alpha 11] Paul Hewitt Los Angeles Clippers
Santa Cruz Warriors Santa Cruz, California West Kaiser Permanente Arena 2,5051995 [lower-alpha 12] 2006Nick Kerr Golden State Warriors
Sioux Falls Skyforce Sioux Falls, South Dakota Central Sanford Pentagon 3,2501989 [lower-alpha 13] 2006 Kasib Powell Miami Heat
South Bay Lakers El Segundo, California West UCLA Health Training Center 7502006 [lower-alpha 14] Dane Johnson Los Angeles Lakers
Stockton Kings Stockton, California West Adventist Health Arena 11,1932008 [lower-alpha 15] Lindsey Harding Sacramento Kings
Texas Legends Frisco, Texas South Comerica Center 4,5002006 [lower-alpha 16] Jordan Sears Dallas Mavericks
Valley Suns Tempe, Arizona TBD Mullett Arena 5,0002024TBA Phoenix Suns

Team ownership and NBA affiliations

Ownership models vary across the NBA G League. Growing willingness among NBA organizations to invest in the G League has led to two main models: direct ownership of G League teams by parent NBA clubs and single-affiliate partnerships in which the G League team remains independently owned while the parent club runs and finances basketball operations.

Parent club direct ownership began in 2006 when the Los Angeles Lakers bought their own NBA D-League franchise, originally known as the Los Angeles D-Fenders and since 2017–18 as the South Bay Lakers. This was followed by the San Antonio Spurs purchasing the Austin Toros (now the Austin Spurs) in 2007, and the Oklahoma City Thunder purchasing the Tulsa 66ers (now the Oklahoma City Blue) in 2008. This led to more NBA teams to either purchase existing franchises or create expansion teams in order to have their own single-affiliation teams. In 2011, the Cleveland Cavaliers purchased the New Mexico Thunderbirds to become the Canton Charge and the Golden State Warriors purchased the Dakota Wizards, with the Warriors moving the Wizards a year later to become the Santa Cruz Warriors. In 2013, the Philadelphia 76ers purchased the inactive Utah Flash and moved them to Newark, Delaware as the Delaware 87ers (now the Delaware Blue Coats, and playing in that state's largest city of Wilmington). In 2014, the New York Knicks became the seventh team to fully own and operate their own NBA D-League affiliate in the Westchester Knicks. [34] In 2015, the Toronto Raptors created their own expansion franchise, the Raptors 905. In 2017, the Timberwolves purchased the Iowa Energy and renamed the team the Iowa Wolves. [35] In 2017, the Atlanta Hawks launched their team in under the Erie BayHawks name and then relocated the franchise to College Park, Georgia, in 2019 as the College Park Skyhawks. In 2021, the Detroit Pistons relocated the Northern Arizona Suns to Detroit and renamed the team as the Motor City Cruise. In 2019, the New Orleans Pelicans launched their G League franchise as a third incarnation of the Erie BayHawks while they waited to relocate the team to Birmingham, Alabama, as the Birmingham Squadron in 2021. [36] [37] In April 2023, the Portland Trail Blazers announced they would be launching their affiliate, the Rip City Remix, beginning with the 2023–24 season. [38] [39] The Phoenix Suns then launched the Valley Suns as its affiliate team beginning with the 2024–25 season. [40]

In 2009, the Houston Rockets and Rio Grande Valley Vipers pioneered the single-affiliate partnership, also known as the hybrid model. In November 2010, the New Jersey Nets and Springfield Armor announced they would enter into a single-affiliate partnership that began in 2011–12. In June 2011, the New York Knicks and Erie BayHawks announced they would be singly affiliated. In May 2012, the Portland Trail Blazers entered into a single-affiliation partnership with the Idaho Stampede. The following month, the Boston Celtics and Maine Red Claws announced a single-affiliation partnership. In June 2013, the Miami Heat announced that they had entered into a single-affiliated partnership with the Sioux Falls Skyforce. In July 2013, the Sacramento Kings and Reno Bighorns (now the Stockton Kings) entered into a single-affiliation. The Stampede ended their affiliation with the Trail Blazers after the 2013–14 season and in June 2014 announced their affiliation with the Utah Jazz. The Armor moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, after the 2013–14 season and affiliated with the Detroit Pistons. From 2014 to 2017, the Memphis Grizzlies had a single-affiliation with the Iowa Energy. In 2015, the last multiple affiliate team, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (now the Indiana Mad Ants), were purchased by the Indiana Pacers making the 2015–16 season the first with all teams having single-affiliations.

In some cases, the hybrid affiliation led to the parent team buying their affiliate's franchise outright. On March 24, 2015, the Utah Jazz purchased their affiliate, the Idaho Stampede, and after one more season in Boise relocated the team to Salt Lake City. On April 11, 2016, the Phoenix Suns purchased their affiliate, the Bakersfield Jam, and announced the immediate relocation of the team to Prescott Valley, Arizona, as the Northern Arizona Suns beginning with the 2016–17 season. [41] On October 20, 2016, the Sacramento Kings bought the majority ownership of their affiliate of the previous eight seasons, the Reno Bighorns, [42] and would eventually move the team to Stockton, California, as the Stockton Kings after the 2017–18 season. [43] On December 14, 2016, the Magic purchased their affiliate, the Erie BayHawks, with the intention to relocate the team to Lakeland, Florida, in 2017. [44] In 2017, the Miami Heat purchased the controlling interest in the Sioux Falls Skyforce after being its primary affiliate since 2013. In July 2019, the Boston Celtics acquired its affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, then became the Maine Celtics in 2021. [45]

Since 2020, the league has added two teams that have no affiliations. On December 12, 2019, the Capitanes de Ciudad de México, which had been playing in the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional, was announced as joining the NBA G League as an independent team in the 2020–21 season on a five-year agreement. [46] [47] Due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, a normal 2020–21 season did not occur and the Capitanes' debut was then delayed to the 2021–22 season. [30] [48] On April 16, 2020, the NBA launched a new development program for potential NBA prospects and a new unaffiliated team called the NBA G League Ignite, which began play in the 2020–21 season. [49] [50] The Ignite team, however, would be folded after the 2023–24 season.

Parent club ownership:

Single affiliation/hybrid model:

G League teams without an exclusive affiliate:

Defunct / relocated teams

TeamCityYear(s)Former NBA affiliatesNotes
Albuquerque / New Mexico Thunderbirds Albuquerque, New Mexico 2005–2011 Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, New Orleans Hornets, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Seattle SuperSonics, Utah Jazz Became the Canton Charge
Anaheim Arsenal Anaheim, California 2006–2009 Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers Became the Springfield Armor
Arkansas RimRockers North Little Rock, Arkansas 2004–2007 Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors Suspended by owners
Asheville Altitude Asheville, North Carolina 2001–2005NoneBecame the Tulsa 66ers
Bakersfield Jam Bakersfield, California 2006–2016 Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz Became the Northern Arizona Suns
Canton Charge Canton, Ohio 2011–2021 Cleveland Cavaliers Became the Cleveland Charge
(North) Charleston Lowgators Charleston, South Carolina 2001–2004NoneBecame the Florida Flame
Colorado 14ers Broomfield, Colorado 2006–2009 Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, New Jersey Nets, Toronto Raptors Became the Texas Legends
Columbus Riverdragons Columbus, Georgia 2001–2005NoneBecame the Austin Toros
Dakota Wizards Bismarck, North Dakota 2006–2012 Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies, Washington Wizards Became the Santa Cruz Warriors
Erie BayHawks Erie, Pennsylvania 2008–2021 Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Pelicans Became the Lakeland Magic, College Park Skyhawks, and Birmingham Squadron [lower-alpha 17]
Fayetteville Patriots Fayetteville, North Carolina 2001–2006 Charlotte Bobcats, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks Folded by league
Florida Flame Fort Myers, Florida 2004–2006 Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic Folded by owners
Fort Worth Flyers Fort Worth, Texas 2005–2007 Charlotte Bobcats, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers Suspended by owners
G League Ignite Henderson, Nevada 2020–2024NoneFolded by league
Greenville Groove Greenville, South Carolina 2001–2003NoneFolded by league
Huntsville Flight Huntsville, Alabama 2001–2005NoneBecame the Albuquerque Thunderbirds
Idaho Stampede Boise, Idaho 2006–2016 Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle SuperSonics, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz Became the Salt Lake City Stars
Mobile Revelers Mobile, Alabama 2001–2003NoneFolded by league
Northern Arizona Suns Prescott Valley, Arizona 2016–2021 Phoenix Suns Became the Motor City Cruise
Ontario Clippers Ontario, California 2017–2024 Los Angeles Clippers Became the San Diego Clippers
Reno Bighorns Reno, Nevada 2008–2018 Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz Became the Stockton Kings
Roanoke Dazzle Roanoke, Virginia 2001–2006 New Jersey Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Wizards Folded by league
Springfield Armor Springfield, Massachusetts 2009–2014 New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers Became the Grand Rapids Drive
Tulsa 66ers Tulsa, Oklahoma 2005–2014 Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Seattle SuperSonics Became the Oklahoma City Blue
Utah Flash Orem, Utah 2007–2011 Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz Became the Delaware 87ers

Team timeline

Current memberFormer member or former namesFuture memberOpted out of seasonOther league

Valley SunsRip City RemixCapitanes de Ciudad de MéxicoNBA G League IgniteBirmingham SquadronErie BayHawks (2019–)Capital City Go-GoWisconsin HerdMemphis HustleCollege Park SkyhawksErie BayHawks (2017–2019)San Diego Clippers (NBA G League)Ontario ClippersAgua Caliente ClippersWindy City BullsLong Island NetsGreensboro SwarmRaptors 905Westchester KnicksMaine CelticsMaine Red ClawsStockton KingsReno BighornsOsceola MagicLakeland MagicErie BayHawks (2008–2017)Delaware Blue CoatsDelaware 87ersUtah FlashRio Grande Valley VipersIowa WolvesIowa EnergyIndiana Mad AntsFort Wayne Mad AntsSioux Falls SkyforceContinental Basketball AssociationSalt Lake City StarsIdaho StampedeContinental Basketball AssociationContinental Basketball AssociationSanta Cruz WarriorsDakota WizardsContinental Basketball AssociationInternational Basketball AssociationTexas LegendsColorado 14ersMotor City CruiseNorthern Arizona SunsBakersfield JamSouth Bay LakersLos Angeles D-FendersGrand Rapids GoldGrand Rapids DriveSpringfield ArmorAnaheim ArsenalArkansas RimRockersFort Worth FlyersRoanoke DazzleMobile RevelersCleveland ChargeCanton ChargeNew Mexico ThunderbirdsHuntsville FlightGreenville GrooveFayetteville PatriotsAustin SpursAustin TorosColumbus RiverdragonsFlorida FlameNorth Charleston LowgatorsOklahoma City BlueTulsa 66ersAsheville AltitudeNBA G League


League champions

YearChampionNBA affiliate(s)
2002 Greenville Groove None
2003 Mobile Revelers None
2004 Asheville Altitude None
2005 Asheville Altitude None
2006 Albuquerque Thunderbirds Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Seattle SuperSonics and Utah Jazz
2007 Dakota Wizards Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards
2008 Idaho Stampede Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle SuperSonics
2009 Colorado 14ers Denver Nuggets and New Jersey Nets
2010 Rio Grande Valley Vipers Houston Rockets
2011 Iowa Energy Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Hornets and Phoenix Suns
2012 Austin Toros San Antonio Spurs
2013 Rio Grande Valley Vipers Houston Rockets
2014 Fort Wayne Mad Ants Charlotte Bobcats, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks
2015 Santa Cruz Warriors Golden State Warriors
2016 Sioux Falls Skyforce Miami Heat
2017 Raptors 905 Toronto Raptors
2018 Austin Spurs San Antonio Spurs
2019 Rio Grande Valley Vipers Houston Rockets
2020 Season canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic
2021 Lakeland Magic Orlando Magic
2022 Rio Grande Valley Vipers Houston Rockets
2023 Delaware Blue Coats Philadelphia 76ers
2024 Oklahoma City Blue Oklahoma City Thunder

Cup tournament champions

2021 Delaware Blue Coats (PHI)104–96 Oklahoma City Blue (OKC) Las Vegas, NV
2022 Ontario Clippers (LAC)99–97 Windy City Bulls (CHI) Las Vegas, NV
2023 Westchester Knicks (NYK)107–99 Indiana Mad Ants (IND) Orlando, FL

Player allocations

NBA G League players generally do not sign contracts with the individual teams, but with the league itself. G League team rosters consist of a total of 12 players, 10 (or fewer) being G League players and two (or more) NBA players. The rosters are made up in a number of ways: the previous years' players, players taken in the G League draft, allocation players (meaning players who are assigned to a team with which they have a local connection, such as a University of Texas player being assigned to the Austin Spurs) and NBA team assignments. Each team also has local tryouts, and one player from the tryouts is assigned to the team.

The minimum age to play in the G League is 18, [51] unlike the NBA which requires players to be 19 years old and one year out of high school in order to sign an NBA contract or be eligible for the draft. The base annual salary is US$35,000 plus housing and insurance benefits. Players who are called up for NBA get bonuses totalling up to US$50,000. [52]

The tallest player ever to be assigned was Hasheem Thabeet at 7'3", the second player selected in the 2009 NBA draft. The tallest player to ever play in the G League was England's Paul Sturgess at 7'8", who played with the Texas Legends during the 2013–14 season.


The NBA G League draft occurs each season and is the major source from which teams build their rosters. Team rosters are made up of returning players (players who were on the team during the previous season), players waived by an NBA team who are designated as an 'affiliate player' to their respective G League affiliate, allocated players (players who have local significance), and drafted players. The 8 round draft utilizes a serpentine format, meaning the order alternates in each round; Team A who selected first in Round 1 will select last in Round 2, while Team B who selected last in Round 1 will get the first pick in Round 2. Round 3 was added in 2014.

The league holds an annual Player Invitational, where prospects hope to earn eligibility for the upcoming draft. [53]

Draft rights player rule

Since 2014–15, an NBA team that declines to sign an NBA draft pick can have them sign directly with their G League affiliate. Previously, an unsigned NBA pick could not be protected by the organization's G League affiliate, and the player might have ended up on the G League team of another organization. [54]

Affiliate players

Players waived by an NBA team during training camp and up until the start of the regular season can be designated as 'affiliate players' and allocated to the NBA team's G League affiliate. Each team is allowed four affiliate players. These are players that an NBA team is interested in developing in their own system. The affiliate players, however, still remain as free agents that any NBA team can sign. [55]


Standard assignment

Each NBA team can assign two first-year or second-year players who are under a standard NBA contract to its affiliated G League team. If more than two NBA players are assigned to a team, the team must reduce the number of G League players to keep the total roster size to 12. An NBA player will continue to be paid his NBA salary and will continue to be included on his NBA team's roster on the inactive list while playing in the G League. [56]

NBA teams can call up players as many times as they choose, and there is no limit to the number of times an NBA player with three years or less experience can be assigned to the G League. Starting in 2011–12, veteran NBA players could be assigned with their consent. [57] The first example of such was with Yi Jianlian, who the Dallas Mavericks assigned to the Texas Legends for two games.

Two-way contract

The 2017 collective bargaining agreement for the NBA, which took effect with the 2017–18 season, included changes allowing each NBA team to sign two players on two-way contracts. Those players spend most of their time on the team's G League roster, but can freely move to their respective NBA team for up to 45 days in the regular season, as well as be a part of the team's roster before the start of the season (including NBA training camps) and after the conclusion of the G League's regular season (though they are not allowed to be on a team's playoff roster or play in a playoff game). [58] Only players with four or fewer years of NBA experience are eligible for two-way contracts. [59] The league's newest CBA, which takes effect with the 2023–24 season, increases the per-team limit on two-way contracts to three. [60]

Unlike other G League players, who can be called up by any NBA team, two-way players can only be called up by their contracted NBA team. Players under two-way contracts are not counted against the NBA team's regular roster limit, and can be assigned to a G League affiliate for development while also getting a larger salary whenever they are called up to the parent team. For teams that do not have a one-to-one affiliation with a G League team, a process similar to the "flexible assignment" rule is being used to determine the placement for their own two-way contracts in the G League until every team has their proper affiliation underway.

In addition, salaries for two-way players are much higher than those for regular G League players. As of the 2017–18 season, G League players who are not on two-way contracts earn either $19,500 or $26,000 during the league's season. [1] By contrast, two-way players' salaries while in the G League, which are pro-rated according to the number of days the player is with his G League team, are based on an annual salary between $50,000 and $75,000, [61] and while these players are with their NBA team, they will earn a pro-rated portion of the NBA minimum rookie salary (which was $815,615 in the 2017–18 season). [62]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two-way players in 2020–21 were initially allowed to play up to 50 games in the NBA. [63] Late in the season, restrictions were further lifted, allowing them to play more than 50 games as well as being eligible for the NBA playoffs. [64] [65]

Successful NBA call-ups

Many former NBA draftees, waived players and undrafted players have played in the NBA D-League. Bobby Simmons, Aaron Brooks, and Pascal Siakam are the only former D-League players to win an NBA end-of-season award; all won the Most Improved Player Award with Simmons getting it with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2004–05, Brooks earning it with the Houston Rockets in 2009–10 and Siakam receiving it with the Toronto Raptors in the 2018-19 NBA season. [66] [67] Khris Middleton became the first former D-League player to be named an NBA All-Star when he was selected to participate in the 2019 All-Star Game. [68]

In the 2008 NBA draft, the Idaho Stampede's Mike Taylor was drafted 55th by the Portland Trail Blazers. He became the first player from the NBA D-League to be drafted by an NBA team. He was subsequently traded and signed a rookie contract with the Los Angeles Clippers. [69] In the 2014 draft, two D-League players were selected for the first time: P. J. Hairston was drafted 26th (which was also the first time a D-League player was drafted in the first round in the NBA) and Thanasis Antetokounmpo was the 51st pick.

Other noteworthy D-League call-ups include 2019 NBA Champion Jeremy Lin; Hassan Whiteside; 2011 NBA champion J. J. Barea; 2014, 2019 and 2020 NBA champion Danny Green; 2015, 2017 and 2018 NBA champion Shaun Livingston; and 2017 NBA champion Matt Barnes. [70] [71]

Annual events

All-Star Game

The league held its first All-Star game February 17, 2007, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was part of the NBA All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas. As with the NBA's showcase game, a fan vote determined the starting lineup for each team. The East won, 114 to 100, with Pops Mensah-Bonsu named the game's MVP. [72]

The second annual All-Star game was held on February 16, 2008, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. The Blue team beat the Red team, 117–99, and Jeremy Richardson was named the MVP. In addition to the NBA D-League All-Star Game, the league debuted its first Dream Factory Friday Night events, which modeled after the NBA All-Star Saturday Night events. The events consists of Three-Point Shootout (won by Adam Harrington), Slam Dunk Contest (won by Brent Petway) and game of H-O-R-S-E (won by Lance Allred). [73]

The 2009 D-League All-Star game was held on February 14, 2009, at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. The Red Team defeated the Blue Team, 113–103, and Blake Ahearn and Courtney Sims were named co-MVPs. [74] Along with the All-Star game, the NBA D-League ran their second annual Dream Factory Friday Night events. H-O-R-S-E was won by Will Conroy of the Albuquerque Thunderbirds. The Three-Point Shootout was won by Blake Ahearn of the Dakota Wizards, and the Slam Dunk Contest was won by James White of the Bakersfield Jam. [75]

The 2010 D-League All-Star game was held on February 13, 2010, at the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas. The Western Conference team defeated the Eastern Conference Team, 98–81. Bakersfield Jam center Brian Butch, who scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, was named as the MVP of the game. [76] The NBA D-League also ran their third annual Dream Factory Friday Night events. The inaugural Shooting Stars Competition was won by a team of Pat Carroll, Trey Gilder and Carlos Powell. The Three-Point Shootout was won by Andre Ingram of the Utah Flash, and the Slam Dunk Contest was won by Dar Tucker of the Los Angeles D-Fenders. [77]

The game continued until 2017, with games continuing to be held during NBA All-Star Weekend at the same site. In 2018, it was replaced by a game between G League all-stars and the Mexico national team held in Los Angeles. After that, this contest did not return in any form. Since 2022, select G League players participate in the Rising Stars Challenge alongside NBA rookie and sophomore players.

NBA G League Showcase

The league stages an annual NBA G League Showcase in which all of the league's teams play each other in a "carnival" format. The showcase was first played in 2005 was originally intended solely as a scouting event for NBA general managers and scouts, but evolved into a four-day event in which each team plays two games apiece. From 2005 to 2017, 15 players were called-up or recalled during or immediately following the Showcase.

As of 2019, the event's location was the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Because of limited space at the conference center site, all games are played without spectators, although TV and Internet coverage is available for all games. The 2019 showcase was a series of mini-tournaments in which the winning team shared a $100,000 grand prize.

Before Las Vegas, host cities were Columbus, Georgia (2005); Fayetteville, North Carolina (2006); Sioux Falls, South Dakota (2007); Boise, Idaho (2008); Orem, Utah (2009); Boise, Idaho (2010); South Padre Island, Texas (2011); Reno, Nevada in 2012 and 2013; Santa Cruz, California in 2015; and Mississauga, Ontario in 2017 and 2018. It was not held in 2016.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 As the Erie BayHawks
  2. As the Huntsville Flight
  3. As the Utah Flash
  4. As the Anaheim Arsenal
  5. Will adopt a new name for the 2024–25 season.
  6. As the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
  7. As the Long Beach Jam in the American Basketball Association. Joined the D-League as the Bakersfield Jam in 2006.
  8. As the Columbus Riverdragons
  9. As the Asheville Altitude
  10. Played as the Idaho Stampede in the Continental Basketball Association before joining the NBA D-League in 2006.
  11. As the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario
  12. As the Dakota Wizards; played in the International Basketball Association and the Continental Basketball Association before joining the NBA D-League in 2006.
  13. Played in the Continental Basketball Association and the International Basketball League (1999–2001) before joining the NBA D-League in 2006.
  14. As the Los Angeles D-Fenders; did not field a team for the 2010–11 season.
  15. As the Reno Bighorns
  16. As the Colorado 14ers
  17. The original Erie BayHawks, at the time an affiliate of the Orlando Magic, were fully purchased and moved to Lakeland as the Lakeland Magic starting with the 2017 season. The Atlanta Hawks began operating their new development franchise in Erie in 2017, before moving it to College Park, Georgia, when their new Gateway Center Arena was completed in 2019. A third franchise began using the BayHawks' name with a new franchise owned by the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019 until their renovated arena in Birmingham was completed in 2021.

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