In a file photo, Erie BayHawks’ Seth Curry tries to get past Grand Rapids Drive’s Kelsey Barlow during an NBA D League basketball game Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015, in Erie, Pa. (AP Photo/Erie Times-News, Jack Hanrahan)

Hawks to operate D-League’s Erie BayHawks for two years

The Hawks are in the final stages of an agreement to operate a D-League franchise much earlier than originally expected, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The Hawks will replace the Magic in operating the Erie (Pa.) BayHawks beginning with the 2017-18 season. The deal would not interfere with the timeline for the Hawks’ planned franchise in College Park that will begin operating for the 2019-20 season.

The deal in pending final approval. The Hawks will operate the BayHawks for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.

The BayHawks are the NBA Development League affiliate of the Magic. The Magic recently announced plans to relocate their franchise to Lakeland, Fla. next year. The Hawks announced the acquisition of the rights to own and operate a D-League franchise that will be located in College Park, Ga. in November. The city of College Park will build a new arena that will be home to the team.

News of a possible agreement between the organizations was first reported by nba.com.

BayHawks lead local investor Owen McCormick was reached by the Erie Times-News on Monday but did not confirm the report. According to the paper, it is unclear what the team would be called or who would be the coach. The Erie BayHawks retained their name after majority owner Steve Demetriou agreed to sell the franchise to the Magic last fall, according to the paper.

The Hawks and BayHawks would likely have a hybrid agreement with the Hawks to run basketball operations.

The BayHawks are currently 7-18 and in last place in the Atlantic Division.

The Hawks often use the D-League as part of their player development. Without an affiliation, the Hawks assign players via the flexible assignment rule. They have sent Mike Scott and rookies Taurean Prince and DeAndre Bembry on D-League stints this season.

Hawks Director of Player Personnel John Treloar was head coach of the BayHawks from 2008-10.

According to the nba.com report, the D-League is planning several other moves involving the Wizards, Bucks and Clippers. Also, on Monday, the league announced that the Timberwolves had a letter of intent to purchase the D-League’s Iowa Energy and become the 18th NBA team to own an affiliate.

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