The Orlando Magic “are considering either Lakeland or Kissimmee as a new home for D-League team starting in 2017-18,” according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. The Magic currently have a “hybrid relationship” with the Erie Bayhawks, but the benefits of shifting their operations to either Lakeland or Kissimmee are fairly obvious.
Both Kissimmee and Lakeland are relatively close to Orlando. Lakeland is only about 56.5 miles from Orlando, while Kissimmee is 22.1 miles from where the Magic play. That’s a huge improvement over they’re located as there’s a 1,090 mile separation between Orlando and Erie. With a move to Kissimmee or Lakeland, the team would more easily be able to send players back and forth from the D-League squad to the NBA, and vice-versa. If the Magic had a young player that wasn’t getting minutes, he could theoretically practice with them during the day, and then go and get game minutes in Lakeland or Kissimmee that night.
As the D-League continues to grow in size and shift more and more towards each team having their own exclusive affiliate, expect moves like this one to increase in frequency so each team has an opportunity to have a minor league squad in their backyard.