NEW YORK -- Carmelo Anthony thinks the NBA should "rebrand" the D-League and invest more in "developing our own players" in the next collective bargaining agreement.
"If I had it my way, I'd rebrand the whole D-League," Anthony told ESPN. "I'd rebrand it so it's not seen as a punishment."
As vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, Anthony said he has been pushing for a major investment in and overhaul of the D-League to create more jobs for young players and strengthen the NBA's player development system.
ESPN's Ian Begley and Dave McMenamin reported Sunday that there is rising optimism on both sides that a new CBA can be agreed upon well in advance of the union's Dec. 15 opt-out deadline, and possibly as soon as the end of this month.
Anthony said a major issue he has been emphasizing in collective bargaining talks is increasing the number of "two-way contracts" that allow players to play for both D-League and NBA teams, thereby creating 44-60 more jobs. He said he also has been addressing increasing pay for D-League players to make it as lucrative to play domestically as abroad, and language that will encourage all 30 NBA teams to have a D-League affiliate.
The D-League will grow from 19 to 22 teams this year, but the players eventually would like to see all 30 teams with their own affiliate, Anthony said.
"I'm a big advocate of developing our own players. If you look at soccer, for example, a lot of those clubs have top-notch academies," said Anthony, who co-owns a professional team in Puerto Rico. "By me being in soccer now, I've started to understand the dynamics of developing your own players. We've got to keep our players here. We don't want them to have to go overseas."