National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise Orlando Magic have acquired Pennsylvania-based D-League team the Eerie BayHawks.
The deal makes the Magic the 17th NBA team to own and operate a D-League side.
The BayHawks will complete the current campaign in Eerie before moving to the Lakeland Center in Florida for the 2017/18 season.
Lakeland is 55 miles from downtown Orlando. A practice facility is also due for development in nearby Winter Haven.
Shelly Wilkes, who has been a member of the Orlando Magic staff since 2004, has been named the BayHawks’ team president.
The two franchises have been affiliated since 2014, when they signed a three-year deal which gave the Magic control of basketball operations. Magic guards Stephen Zimmerman and CJ Wilcox have both spent time with the BayHawks this season.
Magic chief executive Alex Martins said: “When we started this process, our goal was to have our Development League team closer to home and the perfect fit for us was the City of Lakeland. Having our D-League team in Lakeland gives us the best opportunity, not only to continue developing our young players, but to extend the Orlando Magic brand across Central Florida.”
“Today's announcement not only shows the continued growth of the NBA D-League but also enables the Magic to develop players close to home and provides fans in Central Florida the opportunity to watch top NBA prospects compete,” added NBA D-League president Malcolm Turner. “I’m thrilled to welcome the Magic as NBA D-League owners.”
The D-League is comprised of 22 teams and runs from November to April. Last season, the competition was won by the Sioux Falls Skyforce. The Phoenix affiliate, the North Arizona Suns, currently hold the best record in the league this season, having won ten of their opening 12 games.