Indiana Pacers Purchase NBA D-League's Fort Wayne Mad Ants

FORT WAYNE, IN -- The Indiana Pacers organization has announced that they have purchased the D-League team the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Official terms of the deal between the Pacers organization and the Mad Ants have not been made public due to league policy.

The Mad Ants are now the 10th team in the NBA D-League to be completely owned by one team. Fort Wayne is the 19th D-League team to have a single affiliation with a single NBA team. Now there are 11 teams in the NBA that do not have affiliation with a D-League team. However, that is expected to change in the near future.

Indiana Pacers Owner, Herb Simon on the acquisition of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants:

"We are proud to extend the Pacers brand into Northeast Indiana and excited about continuing the tradition of professional basketball in Fort Wayne. We will work closely with the Mad Ants staff to provide support and expertise on both the business and basketball sides and we hope to build on their enthusiastic fan base."

The previous owners of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants were the Fort Wayne Basketball Group, LLC. John Zeglis, Jeff Potter, and Julie Potter were the majority investors in the Mad Ants. Jeff Potter will maintain a position in the franchise as the President of Business Operations.

Fort Wayne Mad Ants President of Business Operations, Jeff Potter on the partnership with the Indiana Pacers:

"The last eight years with the Mad Ants have brought our investors tremendous joy and a whole lot of fun. Our goal in starting the Ants was to bring Fort Wayne something fun and exciting for families and basketball fans to enjoy, and we are so thankful to the city and our fans for how they received us and supported us. Although our run with the team is ending, we are so pleased to see our team placed in such great hands, and we wish the Pacers nothing but the best as they move forward with the Mad Ants."

NBA D-League President, Malcolm Taylor on the Pacers' purchase of the Mad Ants:

"Indiana's purchase of the Mad Ants signals an important milestone for the NBA D-League, as all 19 of the league's teams are now owned by, or in hybrid partnerships with, their NBA parent clubs. I'm excited to welcome Herb Simon and the Pacers front office into the NBA D-League family, and extend my thanks to outgoing Mad Ants owners John Zeglis and Jeff Potter, whose commitment to excellence on and off the court helped shape the NBA D-League."

Indiana Pacers President of Basketball Operations, Larry Bird on the purchase of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants:

"Owning the Mad Ants will be an integral part to the development of our young talent and we'll have the ability to institute the same offensive and defensive systems 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 Pacers have hired Brian Levy to be the new general manager of the Mad Ants. Levy was previously the assistant general manager for the Phoenix Suns' D-League affiliate, Bakersfield Jam, for the past three years. Levy will be in charge of signing the vacant coaching staff positions for the Mad Ants, as well as the duties of being the team's general manager.

Fort Wayne Mad Ants General Manager, Brian Levy on being named the General Manager:

“I’m extremely grateful to have this great opportunity that I am really looking forward to. The recent success of the Mad Ants, coupled with how the Indiana Pacers have built and maintained a successful team and organization, is a win-win, not just for me but for the fans of the Mad Ants. We will work closely with the Pacers to make sure Fort Wayne continues to have a competitive, winning team. A standard has been set and we plan to uphold that standard.”

This acquisition by the Pacers is a major advantage for their franchise. However, eleven other NBA teams are now without the benefits of the D-League. It appears that the NBA D-League could see a 'rapid expansion' if the eleven unaffiliated teams decide that the benefits of the D-League are worth it.

There has been no particular indication regarding which Pacers' players could see time in Fort Worth with the Mad Ants. However, the team now has a good amount of young players that could benefit from the affiliation. Shayne Whittington, Rakeem Christmas, and Glenn Robinson III are the most likely candidates to see time in Fort Worth at some point in 2015-16.

Indiana has never utilized the benefits of the NBA D-League, but now they can use the full array of its features. The Pacers stated a lack of playing time for their players as a reason for not previously utilizing the Mad Ants affiliation. Indiana can now give their young players professional experience in the D-League when they wouldn't be in the rotation with the Pacers. This will allow for better player development and utilization of playing time.

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