The Atlanta Hawks will have a new D-League affiliate next season due to the Phoenix Suns entering into a hybrid affiliation with the Bakersfield Jam according to a report by Arizona Central.
The Suns have shared the Bakersfield Jam as their D-League affiliate for player assignments since 2011 after previously sharing Iowa and Albuquerque with other NBA teams. In recent years, the NBA trend has been to secure a single-affiliation relationship with D-League teams to be able to choose the affiliate's coach and general manager and have continuity in what system is run and how players train.
Per the report, the deal is expected to be finalized next week. The Atlanta Hawks shared the Jam along with the Suns, Clippers, Raptors and Jazz. They have utilized the D-League more over the last couple of seasons with the likes of John Jenkins, Mike Scott, Dennis Schröder and Jared Cunningham all seeing time.
Per Ridiculous Upside, 16 of the 18 planned D-League franchises for next season have a one-to-one affiliation with an NBA team. There are rumors that the Iowa Energy and Utah Jazz could become the 17th. That would leave just the Fort Wayne Mad Ants as the only D-League franchise without an NBA affiliation.