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Southeast Notes: D-League, Payton, Wizards

D-League president Malcolm Turner foresees two new D-League teams for 2016/17, a signal that he expects the circuit to remain at 18 teams next season, observes Adam Johnson of D-League Digest, though that may be a conservative estimate. The Hawks are once more determined to strike up a one-to-one affiliation, according to Johnson, and the Raptors are in advanced talks about an affiliate of their own, too. The league appears ready to plant teams in the southeastern United States, where there are none now, Johnson writes, and at least one more Southeast Division team has its eyes on securing a one-to-one affiliate soon, as we pass along:

  • The Hornets today formally announced their intention to own and operate a one-to-one affiliate by 2016/17, as Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer first reported. Conversely, the Wizards haven’t made much progress toward a one-to-one affiliate, a source tells Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post (Twitter link). The Heat and Magic already have one-to-one affiliates in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Erie, Pennsylvania, respectively.
  • Rookie Elfrid Payton showed a surprising level of toughness as he exceeded expectations for the Magic this season, excelling as a passer and rebounder, as Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel observes. He struggled with his shooting, though that was no shock, as Robbins details about the point guard whose rights the Magic traded for on draft night last June.
  • Drew Gooden was out of the league at midseason last year, and at the same time Otto Porter languished outside the rotation for the Wizards. Now, they’re key parts of a Wizards team that’s 5-0 in the playoffs, as Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post examines.

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