Monday, December 10, 2007

NBA's Eastern Conference To Return To Developmental League For Three-Week Developmental Stint

New York, NY (Dec. 10) - The NBA's Eastern Conference teams, only four of which are over .500, will return to the affiliated Developmental League for three weeks of grueling, intense development.

"It's just not working out," said NBA spokesman James Tanner. "We've given it about a month and 20 games for each team, and, well, need I say more?"

Tanner said that the 5-15 Miami Heat, the 7-12 Charlotte Bobcats, and the 6-13 New York Knicks will be the first three teams to join the D-League -- tomorrow -- and that the 6-12 Chicago Bulls, the 7-13 Philadelphia 76ers, and the 9-12 New Jersey Nets will follow later in the week.

"They'll get some good fundamental work thru the fine clinics they put on down there," Tanner said of the D-League's much-heralded basketball teachers. Tanner added that all players attending the clinics will get free lunch and a t-shirt for participating.

The four decent teams in the Eastern Conference (Detroit, Boston, Orlando, and Toronto) will go down, too, but will function as clinic instructors.

"Maybe someone like (Bobcats point guard) Raymond Felton can learn a thing or two from (Pistons point guard) Chauncey Billups," Tanner explained. "Regardless, the goal is to make the Eastern Conference teams more competitive. Because, right now, they're pretty sucky."

Tanner added that once their stint in the D-League is over with, the league will re-evaluate the teams "in about another month" to see "where they're at." Then, the decision will be made whether to allow them to continue playing in the NBA for the rest of the season, or return to the D-League until next fall.

A member of Knicks guard Stephon Marbury's crew protests the NBA's decision to send the Knicks to the Developmental League

"You just gotta swallow your pride and do it," said Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal. "I just hope they have a t-shirt in my size."

"I told them that this could happen, but they didn't listen to me," said Heat coach Pat Riley. "I kept warning them, 'Do you want to go down to the Developmental League?' But they just wanted to do their own thing their way. Well, I don't feel sorry for them. Maybe now they'll listen to me when I give them some pick-and-roll advice."

Sources say many players are worried about making it on the D-League's daily stipend of $22, and about the league's moratorium on posses, entourages, crews, and peeps.

Colby "C-Man" Festoff, a member of Knicks guard Stephon Marbury's "crew", voiced his concern for "my man Stephon."

"Y'all don't know what y'all doin'," Festoff told reporters, speaking to the NBA. "You take my man away from his crew for three weeks? Don't y'all be surprised if my man busts up a drive-thru or somethin'. Don't y'all come cryin' to me when my man is holed up in a Wendy's with a tire iron and a night manager," Festoff added.

Tanner said that the NBA will continue to function as a Western Conference-only league until the first week of January 2008.

"Those are the best teams anyway," Tanner said. "Besides, with the holidays and everything going on, we doubt very much that the Eastern squads will be missed all that much."

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