The Orlando Magic announced today that the organization has begun the process of bringing an NBA Development League (D-League) franchise to Central or Northern Florida. The franchise would be a direct one-to-one affiliate of the Orlando Magic, with the hope of beginning play for the 2017-18 season.
The franchise today is sending an RFP to eight locations seeking the best home for the Development League club. Locations receiving the initial RFP include: Daytona Beach (Ocean Center); Estero (Germain Arena); Fort Myers (Lee Civic County Center); Jacksonville (Veterans Memorial Arena); Kissimmee (Silver Spurs Arena); Lakeland (Lakeland Center); Orlando/ESPN Wide World of Sports (HP Field House); Orlando/UCF (CFE Arena).
Other municipalities interested can contact the Orlando Magic.
“Our goal is to have our Development League team closer to home, and we are beginning our due diligence to look at options in Central and Northern Florida,” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins. “Having our D-League team closer to Orlando would give us the best opportunity to continue to develop our young players, while also extending the Magic brand in our region.”
Currently the Orlando Magic and the Erie Bayhawks are in the second year of a three-year single affiliation partnership. While the Magic control the basketball operations, the Bayhawks are responsible for the team’s off-the-court business operations.
The NBA Development League, founded in 2001, is the NBA’s official minor league. Featuring 19 teams with direct affiliations to NBA franchises, and three more teams joining for the 2016-17 season, the NBA D-League is a proven developer of talent. An all-time high 38 percent of players in the NBA at the end of the 2014-15 season boasted NBA D-League experience, and the league continues to develop coaches, referees, and front-office staff for the NBA and its teams. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. The NBA D-League also advances the game of basketball as the research and development arm of the NBA.
The NBA D-League season is made up of 50 regular-season games plus a postseason and runs from November to April. The league consists of 19 teams for the 2015-16 season: Austin Spurs, Bakersfield Jam, Canton Charge, Delaware 87ers, Erie BayHawks, Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Grand Rapids Drive, Idaho Stampede, Iowa Energy, Los Angeles D-Fenders, Maine Red Claws, Oklahoma City Blue, Reno Bighorns, Raptors 905, Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Santa Cruz Warriors, Sioux Falls Skyforce, Texas Legends, and Westchester Knicks. Additionally, teams in Greensboro, NC, Long Island, NY, and Hoffman Estates, IL will be added in 2016-17.