Ep. 64: Mad Ants GM Brian Levy, coach Steve Gansey

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — The Mad Ants of the NBA’s G League begin their third year under the operation of Pacers Sports & Entertainment. Owner Herb Simon purchased the franchise back in 2015, and most NBA teams later followed in owning their own development program.

The connection between the Pacers and Mad Ants is now close. General Manager Brian Levy communicates daily with the Pacers front office, specifically GM Chad Buchanan.

Steve Gansey, who is entering his third year as head coach, sends a report after every game to Pacers head coach Nate McMillan and frequently talks with longtime Pacers assistant Dan Burke.

For the first time this season, NBA teams can sign up to two players to two-way contracts. This allows a player to spend up to 45 days with the NBA franchise (not including training camp and the time before G League camp) while earning at least $75,000, three times the salary of the average G League player — which is around just $20,000.

Pacers scouts watch Mad Ants tryouts.

The Pacers signed rookie Edmond Sumner to a two-year, two-way contract, and Alex Poythress to a one-year deal.

Recently the Mad Ants held open tryouts in Fort Wayne and the Plassman Athletic Center was packed. As in it was the biggest turnout in franchise history — over 120 participants — and zero parking spots in the lot.

Players, ranging from 18 to 34, were fighting for four invitations to Mad Ants training camp.

Among those from the Pacers on hand to evaluate: Pro scout Vance Catlin, scout Jason Buckner, and scouting coordinator Harrison Greenberg.

[Chris Taylor takes on new role with the Mad Ants]

On this podcast, I’ll talk with Levy and then Gansey about their experience in the G League, their relationship with the Pacers, and what they are looking forward to this season.

Subscribe to the Pacers Podcast on Apple Podcasts.

I welcome your questions and comments @ScottAgness on Twitter or via email.

Topics Discussed:

  • What they’ve learned after two years in their current position
  • Growth of the G League (formerly the Development League)
  • Daily communication with the Pacers front office and coaching staff
  • The challenge of players getting called up or choosing to go overseas
  • Two-way contracts
  • Their involvement during Pacers training camp

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