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Mad Ants add pair of NBA affiliations

The Mad Ants gained two more teams Monday as possible talent pipelines with the official announcement of affiliations between NBA and NBA Development League teams.

With the addition of the Memphis Grizzlies and Orlando Magic, the Mad Ants now have six NBA teams that can supplement their roster. Other NBA teams who are partnered with the Mad Ants are the Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Bobcats and Milwaukee Bucks.

“With Memphis, they took our coach (Duane Ticknor, as an assistant) at least they could give us a hybrid,” Mad Ants president Jeff Potter said. “I am excited to work with them. Memphis has been good about sending players to the D-League. In Orlando, I worked with their assistant GM when he was in Detroit, so there are some relationships there already.”

An all-time high 14 NBA teams will have single NBA D-League affiliates including first-year partnerships between the Miami Heat and Sioux Falls Skyforce, Philadelphia 76ers and Delaware 87ers, and Sacramento Kings and Reno Bighorns, according to a statement from the D-League.

For the ninth consecutive year, each NBA team has one NBA D-League team to which it may assign players. Last season, a record 58 NBA players were assigned to D-League teams, and the Mad Ants had five NBA-assigned players for a combined 31 games.

“You never know how these things work,” Potter said. “You hope they are able to send you some players. With six teams, I like to think we will have a good chance of adding a couple of NBA players to our roster, which is big. We are one of three independent teams and we generally don’t get the consistency of the assignments that the single affiliates do. Maybe with six teams, we will see that this year.”

Potter is in Las Vegas for the summer rookie league and also collecting names for a possible replacement for Ticknor, who was with Fort Wayne for one season.

“I am just trying to get a bunch of names,” Potter said. “Once I see the landscape and what’s our there, I will go through and pare that down and start to do some phone interviews. Probably have another cut and bring the final group into Fort Wayne and do some face-to-face interviews.”

gjones@jg.net

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