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Raptors To Have Own D-League Affiliate This Year

JUNE 29TH, 12:21pm: The deal is official for Toronto’s new Mississauga-based one-to-one D-League affiliate, the team announced. It will be called Raptors 905, a reference to the area code.

JUNE 24TH, 5:03pm: The Raptors will have a D-League expansion team stationed in nearby Mississauga for the 2015/16 season, Smith reports. The startup cost of the one-to-one affiliate is $6MM, Smith adds. A formal announcement is expected as soon as Monday, according to Smith.

2:51pm: A D-League team for this year is the goal, but not yet a certainty, sources tell Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun (Twitter link).

MAY 27TH, 1:35pm: The Raptors will have a one-to-one D-League affiliate stationed in the Toronto area for the 2015/16 season, as Tim Leiweke, the outgoing CEO of the company that controls the Raptors, revealed today to reporters, including Josh Lewenberg of and Doug Smith of the Toronto Star (Twitter links). The team and the NBA had been in advanced talks about facilitating a one-to-one D-League club for the Raptors, and while GM Masai Ujiri made it clear it was a high priority for the Raptors, it had appeared as though it would have to wait for 2016/17. D-League president Malcolm Turner said at the beginning of the month that he expected his circuit to remain at 18 teams for this coming season, but unless another NBA team gives up its one-to-one affiliate, it looks like D-League expansion will take place in time for the fall.

It’s not clear exactly where the Raptors D-League affiliate will be situated, though Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun ventures a guess that it will be in Mississauga, Ontario, which is adjacent to Toronto proper (Twitter link). Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which runs the Raptors, recently gave the team the OK to buy an affiliate, so presumably the Raptors will own the D-League club outright rather than simply control the basketball operations in a hybrid partnership with independent ownership.

The Raptors were one of 13 teams to share the Fort Wayne Mad Ants this season, but they only made four assignments to the Mad Ants all year, as Eddie Scarito of Hoops Rumors shows in our D-League Usage Report. Those assignments involved raw Brazilian big men Bruno Caboclo and Lucas Nogueira, both of whom are candidates for much more frequent D-League excursions in 2015/16, with the new affiliate in place.

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