On Monday, the NBA D-League announced that the Toronto Raptors will operate their own minor league affiliate. Surprisingly enough, the team will make its debut as the league's nineteenth team as soon as this coming season, in 2015-16. The club will be known as the "Raptors 905" --- the last three digits representing the team's area code. They will play at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.
Continue reading below for more from the D-League's official announcement and press release with the Raptors. organization:
"We are thrilled to bring an NBA Development League team to basketball fans across the 905 region," said Masai Ujiri, Toronto Raptors president and general manager. "Raptors 905 will give our young players a great opportunity to develop and gain valuable experience, while providing high level, affordable basketball to the community."
Located 32 kilometers (20 miles) from downtown Toronto, the City of Mississauga will become the heart of development for Canada's rapidly growing basketball movement. Seven current NBA players grew up in Toronto's 905 area code, including NBA D-League alumni Tyler Ennis (Milwaukee) and Cory Joseph (San Antonio), along with Anthony Bennett (Minnesota), Andrew Nicholson (Orlando), Nik Stauskas (Sacramento), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland), and Andrew Wiggins (Minnesota).
"We are excited and proud to have the Raptors 905, Canada's first NBA Development League team, call the Hershey Centre home," said Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie. "Residents and fans from across the Greater Toronto Area will enjoy affordable, professional basketball. This will be a tremendous boost to Mississauga's economy and thriving sport tourism industry. Working together, the Raptors and the City of Mississauga will demonstrate the benefits sport can contribute in building strong and healthy communities. We are looking forward to a lasting partnership with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and the Toronto Raptors."
Such an announcement makes a lot of sense for the Raptors, a contender that plays plenty of veteran players, but still keeps a close eye on the development of young guns as well. Last season, Toronto assigned Bruno Caboclo to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, an affiliate whom they shared with over a dozen NBA teams last season. Caboclo averaged just 8.9 minutes through seven contests.