The Charlotte Hornets will be one of 13 teams using the Fort Wayne Mad Ants as their NBA D-League affiliate this season.
NBA teams have started to see the value in owning and operating their own D-League affiliates in recent years, but the NBADL hasn't expanded fast enough to keep up with the demand. There are currently 18 teams in the D-League -- 17 of which are independently run -- and that left only one option for the remaining 13 teams.
No one's particularly happy about this, and a few new rules have been added to assist Fort Wayne with a possible (likely) overload of assignments.
To accommodate assignments to Fort Wayne, a flexible assignment system will be utilized when an independent NBA team assigns a player at a time when the Mad Ants already have either the maximum of four NBA players on assignment or two assigned players at the position of the NBA player who is being assigned. In either event, the NBA D-League will identify to the assigning NBA team any singly-affiliated NBA D-League team that is willing to accept the assigned player, and the independent NBA team assigning the player will choose a team from among those teams to assign the player. If no singly-affiliated NBA D-League team is willing to accept the assigned player, he will be assigned to one of the non-NBA-owned single affiliate teams pursuant to a lottery.
In other words, another NBA team would be in charge of the Hornets' D-League assignments. This could be troublesome, as all NBA teams will want the best training and most minutes for their assignments. Hopefully, this problem will only exist for the upcoming season. Teams are starting to treat their affiliates like a minor league team where they can develop prospects and scout veterans, so chances are the NBADL will continue to expand to accommodate increasing demand for independently owned affiliates.