The Orlando Magic’s affiliation agreement with the Erie BayHawks concludes after the 2016-17 NBADL season. After the New York Knicks opted out of its affiliation with the BayHawks in favor of founding the expansion Westchester Knicks, the Orlando Magic immediately swooped in to negotiate a 3 year exclusive partnership with the BayHawks in 2014. Before negotiating with the BayHawks in 2014, Orlando’s NBADL ventures consisted of bouncing around the league into joint affiliations with other NBA teams for NBADL squads such as the Florida Flame and the Bakersfield Jam.
Now for the first time, the Magic organization will attempt to make headway on establishing its own exclusive NBADL expansion team within Florida. The Magic hope to see the NBADL expansion team established and ready to go by the 2017-18 season.
The two possible arenas for hosting the expansion team in Florida are currently the Lakeland Center in Lakeland and the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee. Both arenas would be within a 90 minute drive from the Amway Center in Orlando and possibly encourage free-flowing roster exchanges between the Magic and its future NBADL franchise.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Magic CEO Alex Martins hopes the Magic will make a judgment on the choice for the official new NBADL arena by the end of November 2016. But until then, Martins and the rest of the Orlando front office will be keeping a watchful eye on the talent that on the 2016-17 Erie BayHawks after the NBADL Draft this weekend. Expect talents such as rookie stretch big Stephen Zimmerman, former five-star high school recruit Cliff Alexander, Serie A veteran Ramon Galloway, and Michigan State alum Branden Dawson as probable BayHawks who may make some later-season noise down in Florida too.