The Atlanta Hawks have a plan in place to own and operate a D-League team in College Park beginning in the 2019-2020 season. However, that is a (very) long time to wait for what many feel is an integral part of the organization’s developmental model and it appears that the Hawks won’t have to wait that long for access to a direct D-League affiliate.
Report confirmed. Hawks on verge of operating Erie BayHawks for two seasons. Won't interfere with College Park timeline.— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) January 23, 2017
Chris Vivlamore of the AJC brings confirmation that the Hawks will assume operation of the Erie BayHawks beginning in the 2017-2018 season. The possibility of such a move was first reported by Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com and Atlanta will be taking over the affiliate from the Orlando Magic.
The Magic are set to, much like Atlanta, pick up a D-League team in nearby Lakeland and this early timeline allows the Hawks to speed up any basketball-related implementation. Vivlamore reports that nothing will change as far as the start of the College Park franchise in 2019 and this is, at least at the surface, a huge win for the Hawks.
From a basketball standpoint, assuming ownership of a D-League affiliate has many perks. While the Erie franchise will not provide the ease of movement of College Park simply due to proximity, the Hawks have a wealth of NBA Draft assets arriving in the near future and this will provide a landing spot for young talent to develop on an accelerated timeline.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.