Atlanta Hawks rookie Adreian Payne has been assigned to the NBA D-League for the third time this season but this time he is headed to the Austin Spurs thanks to the NBA's flexible assignment rule. Payne's first two assignments were with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants who are the Hawks' D-League affiliate along with 12 other teams.
Atlanta reassigned Payne to the D-League on Sunday but the Mad Ants had the maximum of four NBA players already on assignment. Therefore, Payne became the first player to be a part of the new flexible assignment rule. The AJC's Chris Vivlamore explains:
According to the new rules, an NBA team can still assign a player to the D-League although Fort Wayne is at its maximum. That was the case Sunday night when the Hawks assigned Payne. Fort Wayne already had Hawks players John Jenkins and Mike Muscala, along with the Pelicans' Russ Smith and the Wizards' Glen Rice Jr. That made Payne eligible for the flexible assignment. One of the 17 singly-affiliated teams could have volunteered to accept Payne. If there was more than one offer, the Hawks could choose the location. If no singly-affiliated team volunteered to accept Payne, he would have been assigned via a lottery to one of the 10 non-NBA owned D-League teams.
Going to Austin is a great situation for Payne as they run a system that is very close to the same system incorporated by Atlanta.
Austin's next game is scheduled for Thursday in Los Angeles. They play again on Friday at Santa Cruz and are back at home on Sunday for a matchup with Oklahoma City.