In news that really matters only for our friends in the Sierra, the NBA announced the D-League will expand to Reno, and said team will be the Kings affiliate.
The Kings have had Albuquerque and Bakersfield as affiliates the past several seasons. Not once have the Kings sent a qualifying youngster down to the D, despite opportunities to (specifically w/r/t Quincy Douby). You're allowed to send a first or second year player down to the D three times a season; you fully control the contract of the player, and can bring him back to the big club whenever you want to.
Why haven't the Kings used the D-League team? The arguments are that a) it's more valuable to be with the club to build relationships and learn the system, versus the D-League team, which is independantly run; b) it's hard to trust your prospects with another coach, who could teach him much differently than you would; and c) you never know when you'll need them. I think the last one was certainly the reason QD never got sent down last season -- the team had such a gauntlet of injuries, you actually needed the extra body some nights.
The way to erase those barriers? Own your own D-League team! The Lakers and the Spurs have taken that step, and basically control a minor league team now. That's an advantage most NBA teams could grab (S.A. is among the smallest markets in the league, and they can afford it), but haven't. The Kings are getting closer to utility by having a team nearby, but it's still not what the Lakers and Spurs have been able to do.
One note: Fat Lever was in Reno Tuesday for the announcement, and he said :
"The fans in Reno also get to see a (first-round) pick, get to see guys growing," Lever said. "Then he's the steppingstone toward the community involvement that the Kings, the Knicks and the NBA are apart of."
A pick? Hmmm....