In an age where only a select few teams strike it really big in free agency or end up acquiring a future franchise cornerstone through the draft, developing guys on rookie contracts within the organization is crucial to a team’s sustained chances for success.

More and more of them are realizing this, and are taking action by entering into single-affiliation relationships with D-League franchises, thereby giving them complete operational control over a true minor league situation where this development can take place.

The Phoenix Suns became the latest to do so, and will oversee the Bakersfield Jam beginning next season.