The Boston Celtics today announced a hybrid affiliation with the D-League’s Maine Red Claws, a nice step toward maximizing the D-League’s impact.
From WEEI, a brief rundown of hybrid affiliations:
This partnership, also referred to as a “hybrid affiliation,” is the fifth of its kind in the NBA D-League. It allows for NBA teams to secure control of and cover the expenses related to the basketball operations of an NBA D-League team while partnering with existing local ownership, which maintains responsibility for the team’s off-the-court business operations.
During the past season I spent some time covering the Springfield Armor, who have a hybrid affiliation with the New Jersey Nets. The Nets hired Springfield’s head coach. They appointed its general manager. They controlled everything on the basketball side of operations, made decisions on which players to keep, which players to trade, etc.
When the Nets held training camp, the Armor coaching staff were involved in the meetings and formed a tight relationship with Avery Johnson and his staff. The Armor ran all of the Nets’ plays, so when players were called up to the Nets they didn’t need as much adjustment time. Three Armor players — Dennis Horner, Jerry Smith and JamesOn Curry — were invited to Nets training camp. Horner began the NBA season with the Nets. Smith was called up later in the season. Both players thought the hybrid affiliation helped them considerably with their adjustment to the NBA.
The arrangement goes both ways, too. When the Nets assigned rookie Jordan Williams to the D-League in January, he was still running all of the Nets’ plays. Not only did he get much-needed playing time, but he got in-game repetitions with the same sets he would have been running in the NBA.
The hybrid affiliation is great. It allows the Celtics to keep tabs on everything. It allows them a level of control when they send players down, and it will help them to determine which players deserve to be called up. It may not make an enormous instant impact, but it will help.