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Pacers Buy Fort Wayne Mad Ants Basketball Team

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Fort Wayne Mad Ants

The Indiana Pacers announced Wednesday the franchise has bought Fort Wayne’s basketball team.

The Fort Wayne Mad Ants will now function as 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 the deal will give the Indianapolis team more of an opportunity to develop young talent.

“Our players have got to understand this is not a downgrade," says Bird. "This is to get them minutes playing to get better, and that’s what they gotta grasp. 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 Pacers invest in Fort Wayne. He hopes having a team affiliated with the National Basketball Association will draw in more people to the city.

The Mad Ants were the last 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.

For Indiana Public Broadcasting, I’m Lisa Ryan, in Fort Wayne.