For NBA teams, the NBA Developmental League is becoming a more and more vital tool. Teams are using the D-League to stash draft picks and develop talent when they don't have the necessary roster spots to hold onto the players they may want to have for seasons to come.
In their second season with their hybrid affiliation with the Erie BayHawks, the Orlando Magic are using it to not only stash and develop a young player -- second round pick Tyler Harvey -- but to also get a young player on their roster playing time -- last years second round pick Devyn Marble is currently in his second stint with the team this season.
Despite their increased relationship with the D-League, the BayHawks location is still an issue, one that many teams in the D-League currently face. Those issues could soon change for the Magic, however.
According to a report from the Orlando Sentinel's Josh Robbins, the Magic have formally begun to the process to bring a Developmental League team to Florida, and possibly even the Orlando area. Citing a team spokesman, Robbins reports the Magic sent proposals to eight potential locations for a D-League team, which would begin play in 2017-18, a season after the Magic's three-year contract with the BayHawks runs out.
Robbins says the team put requests in to Daytona Beach, Kissimmee, ESPN's Wide World of Sports at Disney, University of Central Florida, Lakeland, Estro, Fort Myers and Jacksonville. All eight locations already have arenas set up for where the Magic's affiliate could play, and wold be a short drive to Orlando, making it easier for the team to assign and recall players on a more consistent basis.
Adding a team in Florida would give the D-League it's first team in Florida since the Florida Flame played in Fort Myers from 2004-2006. It would also be yet another addition in the Southeastern portion of the United States, who will get their first team in Greensboro, North Carolina next year thanks to the Charlotte Hornets.
As Robbins writes, adding a developmental team in Florida has been a goal of Magic general manager Rob Hennigan's since he was hired following the 2011-12 season. Magic coach Scott Skiles also laid out how having a team in the state would help the franchise as they continue to toe the line between developing players and battling for a playoff spot.
Skiles said: "If we played on a Tuesday and didn’t play again until Friday, and a couple of guys weren’t getting that many minutes and Wednesday they wanted to just go get a quick game in and come back, it’s much easier if they can just hop in a car and go. One of our staff drives them over, they go to the shootaround, they play in the game, they drive back that night and they’re back in their own bed. It makes sense."
It shouldn't come as a surprise the Magic are looking to bring the D-League to Florida. Having a team closer that they can monitor and run on their own makes sense, and geographically, it would be much more beneficial for them.
There's still a long way to go, but it shouldn't be a surprise if the Magic are able to iron out details of this soon and begin the processes of adding yet another professional basketball team to Florida.