I don't know nearly enough about the D-League as I feel like I should, but Ridiculous Scott of Ridiculous Upside is on to something.
Again, emphasizing that I'm just shooting from the hip:
-- How much money does it actually take to run a D-League franchise? Has anything changed from information cited last April that buying into the league costs "in the low seven figures"?
-- If so, here's my thought for someone with more capital than I do: Now is the time to buy. With a slumping economy, there is probably a discount to be had from someone unwilling to ride out the storm, or from the NBA itself, if it's willing to add more teams. Combine that with convincing a team that its best interests are in ownership of a D-League team, and you're gold. You buy 50% plus one. The NBA team sinks whatever they think is appropriate into the minor league franchise. Now, you need to find the rest of your investors.
-- Here's my crazy twist: Let employees buy part of the team, and take that into account when considering potential employees. Imagine I'm a passionate basketball fan applying for some sort of communications/operations/jack of all trades position with a D-League team, and they tell me that my application will receive added weight if I agree that as a condition of my employment I purchase $10,000 worth of the team. I'd have to consider taking out a loan to do it. I can sell that stake any time I want, if I can, but there have to be enough talented people willing to, essentially, pay another college tuition in order to work in pro basketball.