Report: Pacers to purchase D-League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants

The Indiana Pacers are finalizing a deal to purchase the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Developmental League, according to a report. The Mad Ants have been the Pacers’ D-League affiliate since 2007, and are currently the only independent team in the league.

A Pacers spokesman told VigilantSports.com that the organization has no comment on this report.

There are currently 19 D-League teams and all but the Mad Ants have a single-affiliate relationship with an NBA team — and nine are fully owned and operated by an NBA team. It’s not immediately clear how the other 11 NBA teams will continue to utilize the D-League.

The Charlotte Hornets announced in May their intention to launch their own D-League team in time for the 2016-17 season.

Pacers officials didn’t send players down to the Mad Ants to get playing time and extra work in until the 2012-13 season, beginning with first-round pick Miles Plumlee.

By owning a D-League team, the Pacers would have control of the team and could essentially use it as a training ground for young or unproven players. The trouble in the past has been sending players down there only for the player not to get much playing time because the team didn’t want to disrupt their system and what had been working.

The Mad Ants won the D-League Championship during the 2013-14 and reached the finals again this past year, but were swept by the Santa Cruz Warriors.

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