The Indiana Pacers have purchased the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League.
The Pacers are the 10th NBA to team to fully own and operate a D-League team. All 19 NBA D-League teams are now affiliated with a single NBA franchise.
Indiana has been one of the Mad Ants' affiliates since the 2007–08 season. Four current Pacers players have spent time in the D-League—Shayne Whittington, Solomon Hill, Ian Mahinmi and C.J. Miles. Fort Wayne won the 2014 D-League title and appeared in the D-League finals last season.
“Owning the Mad Ants will be integral to developing our young talent,” said Pacers Basketball President Larry Bird. “We’ll have the ability to institute the same offensive and defensive systems as the Pacers run and create a winning basketball culture across the state of Indiana. We are excited to build on the team’s success in Fort Wayne while using it as a training ground for players, coaches and front-office personnel.”
The D-League will continue its flexible assignment system next season, which allows the 11 NBA teams without a D-League affiliate to assign players to the league for development or recovery from injury. All D-League teams can claim an assigned player, after which the NBA team that owns his rights can pick his destination. If no team is willing to accept an assigned player, he will be assigned to one of the hybrid-affiliate D-League teams through a lottery system.
– Rohan Nadkarni