The Toronto Raptors are in discussions with the Rochester RazorSharks to become their singular D-League affiliate, according to Time Warner Cable News.
The Rochester RazorSharks basketball team is in talks with the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, according to sources within the RazorSharks front office, who said the Raptors are looking for a NBA Developmental League affiliate.
The Raptors are coming off of a successful season, having won the Atlantic Division for the 2013-2014 season.
The RazorSharks were champions of the Premier Basketball League last season.
The RazorSharks would become the 18th D-League team to have an exclusive affiliate relationship with an NBA team. Rochester is an already existing team, which means the Raptors would be spared having to find an ownership group to run the team. Founded in 2005, Rochester is far and away the most successful team in Premier Basketball League history, with four titles since league play began in 2007. Previously, they were a member of the American Basketball Association.
Currently, the Raptors assign their players to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, who they share with 12 other organizations. There is no promise of playing time or development with the Mad Ants. In fact, their players would most likely be better off staying with the team on the bench and getting access to their resources. With long-term projects Lucas Nogueira, DeAndre Daniels, and especially Bruno Caboclo in tow, getting a singular affiliate that they can send players to develop seems like a no-brainer.
It’s honestly a surprise to me that the Raptors hadn’t already invested in one. With Masai Ujiri running things for the past two offseasons, the organization is in possession of one of the more forward thinking front offices in the entire league. And as the Josh Huestis saga showed, there are major advantages for teams that have single affiliates.
It seems that Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment was probably trying to find the right spot to jump into the D-League, but didn’t want to invest the money themselves into creating a team and running it. With an existing team, that wouldn’t be a problem. Regardless of how it worked out, this will assuredly help the organization’s young players get the playing time they need in order to become the best players they can be.
Overall, single affiliation partnerships are clearly where the league is going, so it’s a smart move to jump on board now. By the time the next CBA expires, a full developmental league will become a major talking point. The infrastructure isn’t there yet, but it’s getting closer. The next steps will include getting every team on board with a single affiliation, and finding a way to increase D-League salaries in order to keep talent on this side of the Atlantic. To me, it’s not a matter of “if” we’ll get a full 30 team developmental league. It’s a matter of “when.”
We’ll keep track of this story as it continues to develop. It’s obviously a smart move for the Raptors, and it’s one that other 12 teams without an exclusive affiliation should continue to adopt in the future.