The Orlando Magic have entered talks with an existing NBA D-League team about entering into a hybrid relationship with it, reports Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Such a relationship would enable the Magic to control the team's basketball operations side while not owning the club outright. The Miami Heat entered into a similar relationship with the Sioux Falls Skyforce prior to the 2013/14 season and reaped the benefits Tuesday when they signed Skyforce standout DeAndre Liggins to a 10-day contract.
At present, the Magic share their Fort Wayne Mad Ants affiliation with five other NBA clubs. As Robbins notes, that crowded affiliation structure and the team's Indiana location present challenges to Orlando, which doesn't have a say in how the Mad Ants run their team.
In October, Don Coble of the Florida Times-Union reported that Orlando indicated to the NBA its interest in having a D-League team based in Jacksonville. According to D-League president Dan Reed in Robbins' story, expansion to the Southeast isn't a priority. "We're not at the point where we're ready to expand in that area of the country at this time, but the interest is there, and so we're interested in listening to people's interest," he said, per Robbins' story.
Orlando has not used the D-League since the 2010/11 season, when it sent rookie center Daniel Orton to the New Mexico Thunderbirds, then its affiliate, to refine his skills. Orton played two games with New Mexico before re-injuring his surgically repaired left knee, ending his season.