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Magic want D-League team in Jacksonville, Pistons want one somewhere

Oct 9, 2013, 5:18 PM EDT

Kyle O'Quinn

Fourteen NBA teams have sole control of a D-League team. That means the other 16 NBA teams are sharing three D-League teams, a situation that won’t remain tenable for long.

We’re headed to a 30-team D-League with each NBA team either owning or have a one-to-one affiliation with a D-league team. Like in baseball, every player on the minor-league squad will have his rights owned by his major-league affiliate.

That will be good for both leagues, as fan have a reason to follow players who could be not only future NBA players, but future players for the fans’ favorite team. Right now, NBA fans don’t care about D-League players who weren’t sent down by NBA teams. But if a D-League player was the fourth-round pick of their favorite NBA team – yeah, I think the draft will expand, too – fans will want to follow that player.

Two of the six teams sharing the Fort Wayne Mad Ants are moving in the direction I see the leagues going.

Don Coble of The Florida Times-Union:

The Magic, who will play the New Orleans Pelicans at 7, have an interest in moving its NBA Development League team to Jacksonville, team CEO Alex Martins said Tuesday.

“We’ve made it clear to the [NBA] league we’d like to make this happen,” Martins said.

David Mayo of MLive:

The Detroit Pistons have engaged in discussions about acquiring exclusive control of an NBA Developmental League team, Joe Dumars said Friday.

The Pistons’ president of basketball operations was not specific about whom the team had negotiated with, where any such team would be based, or whether the pursuit focused on an existing or expansion franchise.

Jacksonville, two hours from Orlando, is a perfect location for a Magic D-League team. Fans in Jacksonville might spend money on the Magic and attend an occasional game, and a D-League franchise is a great way to engage them.

For the Pistons, Grand Rapids, two hours from Auburn Hills, would be a good location for the same reasons. If the Pistons draw fans there through a D-League team, some of those fans will spend money on the parent club.

There’s money to be made through the D-League, even if D-League teams themselves lose money. It will take affiliates in places like Jacksonville, and that’s where we’re headed.

  1. samonelastains - Oct 9, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    the pistons are a d league team

  2. vannzee - Oct 9, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Toledo makes great sense for the Pistons. It is closer then Grand Rapids and the Pistons have played preseason games at both sites. Toledo has a good relationship with the Red Wings via the ECHL and the Tigers as their AAA team is there.

    Toledo was also just named as the best minor league market around and Huntington Arena is a new state of the art facility by minor league standards. Van Adel Arena in Grand Rapids might be to big for a D-League team.

    I could see the Pistons trying to buy the affiliation with Fort Wayne due to the franchise starting there but they would likely rather be with the Pacers.

  3. detectivejimmymcnulty - Oct 9, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    I’ve always wondered why they don’t play a few D-League games a year before the NBA games like high school game. I wouldn’t want to go to a lot of D-League games but I might go before a game a couple times a year to see them play.

  4. karlton3 - Oct 9, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    Fort Wayne Mad Ants are less than 3 hours from Detroit if they don’t mind splitting a team with the Pacers.

  5. Eric Chase. - Oct 9, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    I hope Adam Silver has this idea,

    abolish the age limit…with the restriction that, yes, you can enter the draft but said player must spend one year in the DL. Then, NBA TV further expand their brand by running Wiggins vs. Parker, and if those NBDL games clog up the channel, then make the matchups an online component.

    I can see this brilliant idea turning a mockey into college basketball, which would become intramurals. OK, that’s hyperbole, but point made. This could potentially fracture TV partnerships btw CBB, NBA and ESPN. Though perhaps with competitors on the rise, the NBA would be willing to leave ESPN in its dust for another network so that an idea like this could go through.

    Why should the NBA let college basketball grow the equity of its future stars, when it can bring them into the league and create the equity itself, and extend it’s brand.

  6. convincedofthehex - Oct 9, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    This sucks. I was hoping the Magic would put the D League team in the Tampa/St. Pete area. If they had, I would have bought 4 season tix immediately. My boys are not going to be happy. They are total bball junkies.

  7. buckeyeluvn - Oct 9, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    Flint Tropics?

  8. csbanter - Oct 9, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    The D league hasn’t served the NBA all that well. its a place to send players that are not injured. Players are not coming back that much improved.

  9. brianjoates - Oct 9, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    This needs to happen sooner rather than later. I like the idea of spending the rookie season in D league( and it does need a rebranding), guys can get called up at the end of the season and also for a injury exemption to the parent club. Too many players don’t get developed, but if they are developed in the parent league system in the minors they will be that much more ready and might have a chance at a long career. Treat it as a minor league, make the guys take buses and trains, not as many games though.

    Would like to see Baltimore or Richmond be the Wizards affiliate. And who knows 10 – 20 years down the road , maybe they will need Double A and Single A type affiliates for the league.

  10. weaselpuppy - Oct 9, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    G-Rap had a CBA franchise for 16 years and has the Red Wings top affiliate already here (current Calder Cup Champs woot!) It could support a D-League team for sure, whether at the Van Andel or the smaller DeltaPlex.

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