The NBA’s Developmental league is still a work in progress. Many teams share affiliations with their D-League teams with other NBA franchises. For example, the Celtics shared their affiliation to the Maine Red Claws with Philadelphia and Charlotte, which meant roster slots had to remain available for either of those three teams to send a player down if they so chose.
It’s not the most fluid system in the world. There are 16 D-League teams for the 30 NBA teams to share. But today, the Celtics are no longer sharing the Red Claws with anyone. The teams announced what they call a “hybrid affiliation“
This partnership, also referred to as the “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.
The Celtics join the Houston Rockets with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Brooklyn Nets with the Springfield Armor, the New York Knicks with the Erie BayHawks and the Portland Trail Blazers with the Idaho Stampede as NBA teams with “hybrid affiliations.”
In a nutshell, the Celtics are, for the next three years, running the Red Claws. They will choose the GM and coach, which is a pretty smart move considering the next step for the Celtics includes a lot of young players. Now, the team can have a management structure in place that works in complete tandem with the Celtics and their goals.
D-League assignments, call-ups and signings can be confusing. What this does NOT do is make every member of the Red Claws Celtics property. The Celtics can assign any of their rookies or second-year players to Maine and those remain C’s property. But the full 10-12 man roster is also made up of guys who will just be part of the team but free to sign with whomever should an NBA team come calling for that particular player.
Still, if the Celtics decide E’Twaun Moore or JaJuan Johnson need some good basketball minutes, they can send one of them to Maine and call him back to Boston as they so choose and feel confident that the Red Claws have the Celtics’ best interests in mind. It’s a solid move for the Celtics to take advantage of this opportunity at a time that makes sense for the future of the franchise.