The Indiana Pacers will soon be joining the single D-League-affiliate game according to D-League Digest:
The Indiana Pacers are expected to purchase the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the league's lone independent affiliate, sources tell D-League Digest.— D-League Digest (@DLeagueDigest) August 1, 2015
It appears the move has been in the works for some time, but is now moving closer to a conclusion:
Deal between Fort Wayne and Pacers was expected to be announced last week, but details currently being finalized.— D-League Digest (@DLeagueDigest) August 1, 2015
Founded in 2007, the Mad Ants served as the affiliate for 13 NBA teams during the 2014-2015 season, including the Pacers.
The Pacers have been reluctant to utilize the D-League as a development-vehicle in the past, preferring to mold young players while on the NBA roster. Miles Plumlee, Solomon Hill, and Shayne Whittington have most recently spent time in Fort Wayne.
This transaction along with the acquisitions of several young players continues a sizable player-development shift for the Blue and Gold.
This may take some time to become official:
Re: Fort Wayne Mad Ants sale, league could delay approval until 2016-17 season to make sure everything is in order.— D-League Digest (@DLeagueDigest) August 1, 2015
Amin Elhassan of ESPN speculates the Pacers' purchase of the Mad Ants (and last remaining independent D-League team) will have a ripple effect on the rest of the league:
2: Ft Wayne was last unaffiliated @nbadleague franchise. Now all the teams that don't have an affiliate should feel pressure to get one— Amin Elhassan (@AminESPN) August 1, 2015
While also commending the Pacers for the move:
Exciting to see the Pacers take the plunge and invest in a 1:1 relationship with @nbadleague Fort Wayne Mad Ants, for several reasons.— Amin Elhassan (@AminESPN) August 1, 2015
1: Love the proximity. Ft Wayne a 2 hr drive from Naptown, making a lot easier for assignees to get sent back & forth. Also allows for...— Amin Elhassan (@AminESPN) August 1, 2015
...Pacers staffers to keep close tabs on the affiliate. Whole point of a 1:1 is to build symmetry of culture, playbook, training methods etc— Amin Elhassan (@AminESPN) August 1, 2015