The Hawks, along with the city of College Park, are set to make a major announcement at a Thursday afternoon press conference, the team confirmed today in a press release. According to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter), the franchise is set to announce that it will purchase and control a D-League affiliate, which will play in College Park.
Currently, 22 NBA teams are affiliated with D-League squads. The remaining eight NBA clubs, including the Hawks, can still assign players to the D-League, but they don’t have control over which team of those 22 affiliates their players are sent to, and don’t have the opportunity to closely monitor and coach those players. It is expected that all 30 teams will eventually own and operate their own D-League affiliates, though that’s probably still at least a few years away.
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In addition to the Hawks, the teams without their own D-League affiliates include the Nuggets, Clippers, Bucks, Timberwolves, Pelicans, Trail Blazers, and Wizards. Those eight clubs were unable to designate affiliate players from among their training camp invitees earlier this month.
Because the city of College Park doesn’t have an arena ready to be used immediately, the Hawks’ D-League team isn’t expected to begin play until the 2019/20 season, after a new arena is built.