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Indianapolis Pacers Buy Fort Wayne Team

Lisa Ryan, WBOI News

The Indiana Pacers bought Fort Wayne’s basketball team, in a deal announced Wednesday. The Fort Wayne Mad Ants will now be a development team for the Pacers.

The Pacers had assigned players to the Mad Ants before the purchase. But now Pacers’ President Larry Bird says it will provide them with more control and allow players to get even more practice.

“Our players have gotta understand this is not a downgrade, this is to get them minutes playing to get better, and that’s what they gotta grasp,” Bird said. “And if they don’t do that, they might not make it in the NBA.”

The terms of the purchase were not announced.

Fort Wayne’s Mayor Tom Henry says it’s great to have the Indianapolis team invest in Fort Wayne. He hopes having a team affiliated with the National Basketball Association will draw in more people to the city.

“To have the Indiana Pacers purchase the Mad Ants is a tremendous statement for the city of Fort Wayne that we are in fact very valuable to investors, and not only in the economic development arena as far as businesses, but now in the sports area as well,” Henry said.

The Mad Ants were the last NBA D-League team to affiliate with an NBA parent club.

Brian Levy will be the Mad Ants general manager, but the coaching staff hasn’t been announced yet.

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