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Billy King: No D-League team for "couple of years"

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Springfield Armor

Last week, Billy King and Brett Yormark wrote in their letter to season ticket holders that the Nets will be announcing its D-League plan soon, stating, "You can also expect to hear about our D-League commitment in the coming weeks, which would provide our young players with continuity in our system."

King, meeting with beat writers Wednesday before the third day of Draft workouts, filled in the details, saying the process had begun but it will take "a couple of years." The description of the start date was suitably vague, but one thing is certain: it won't be next year. The Nets plan to field the team in Brooklyn, at least initially. For a team without many draft picks over the next two years, the Nets could use a D-League team as soon as possible.

King and Yormark's letter encouraged speculation among some fans that a team might be put together this year, but that was always a pipe dream.

Between now and October, they’d have to buy the rights to an expansion team --and pay the NBA $6 million; find venues for both games and practice; hire staff which would include the full range of people from business to basketball operations, including GM, coach, assistant coach and trainer; get endorsement deals to help defray the not inconsequential costs, more than a million dollars, of operating the team; find housing for the players, which is the parent team’s responsibility, in the nation's most expensive market; and get ready for the D-League Draft on November 1.

An additional delay might be a function of the NBA not wanting to expand the D-League too rapidly. Also, there are teams now ahead of the Nets in the queue for expansion teams, like the Hornets, the Raptors and perhaps the Wizards.

Brooklyn of course poses some real opportunities when the team finally takes the court. They could very well practice and train at the Nets new HSS Training Center in Industry City. And if, as the Nets brass would like, the team plays at LIU, D-League games would be easily accessible for anyone with a MetroCard.

As we've noted before, the Nets had a D-League team, in Springfield that they operated with a businessman who had significant experience in managing minor league baseball franchises. He wanted to sell last year but the Nets passed. They discussed the idea of buying an expansion team. The NBA was not only willing to make it happen, but was enthused. The Nets however had issues with the way the D-League operated and dawdled, finally passing on it.

“This year, it would have been more beneficial, just for the fact because it would’ve been close, and we had a lot of guys that would’ve played,” King said.. “In previous years we didn’t have as many young guys. … I think this is where the league is evolving, where more people will have a team.”