Monday, September 19, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen: Your Albuquerque Thunderbirds!

The NBA just announced the NBA Development League affiliations. The Sacramento Kings get to use the Albuquerque Thunderbirds as their minor league of sorts.

The Kings share the TBirds with the Phoenix Suns, the Seattle Supersonics and the Utah Jazz (oh, and the noted basketball-lovers of the great state of New Mexico). Here are the rules on assignment, thanks to unusually informative

-- An NBA team may assign any player on its Active List or Inactive List to play in the D-League, provided that the player has zero or one Years of Service at the time of Assignment.
-- No players may be given more than three Assignments during any season. There is no minimum or maximum length of a D-League assignment.
-- During the 2005-06 season, no NBA team may have more than two players on assignment at the same time.
-- A player on Assignment will be carried on the Inactive List of his NBA Team.

So rookies and sophomores can be assigned to the DLeague team, which means current Kings/camp invitees Francisco Garcia, Kevin Martin, Ronnie Price, Luis Flores and Erik Daniels are eligible for Albuquerque (note: Daniels isn't an official camp invitee yet).

Noted ex-Laker Michael Cooper is the head coach of the TBirds, and Andre Agassi is among the owners. Each NBDLer that has a contract with an NBA team will wear that team's logo on his jersey, seemingly to remind fans that like the WNBA, the NBDL does have some relationship to big-time pro basketball.

The furthest west the TBirds are slotted to play is, well, Albuquerque, and the farthest north they'll play is Tulsa. Needless to say, it doesn't appear this fan will be loving it live this season.

The NBDL's move west is encouraging though. It seems the league revolved around SEC territory last season - franchises in Fort Worth, Tulsa and Albuquerque this year is good news. Maybe someday we'll get a Stockton, San Jose or Vallejo squad to enjoy. Let's hope.

(While we're here, let's set the over/under on "times SKB will misspell 'Albuquerque' this season" at 163. Want to pick up this future, BoDog?)


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Tom Ziller

The Sacramento Kings are a tough act to follow, literally.

SKB does the dirty work so you can forget about the blood, sweat and tears.

Oh, you'll still need the tears in April, though.

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