Stone bound for Italy after release from Mad Ants Fort Wayne looking into other moves as trade deadline looms.

Point guard Julyan Stone has been released by the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, and is expected to return to Italy, where he played in the past.

His departure could lead to more moves by the Mad Ants.

The Mad Ants, in turn have signed former Central Michigan guard Chris Fowler to fill Stone’s spot on the roster, at least temporarily. The NBA Development League trade deadline is Thursday, and Mad Ants general manager Brian Levy said some other changes could take place. The Mad Ants also lost forward Ben Bentil to a 10-day contract with the Dallas Mavericks.

“We’re having a number of conversations and evaluating what our best options are,” Levy said. “Our intent is to try to replenish the roster.”

Stone has been the starting point guard all season, averaging 8.3 points, 8.7 assists and six rebounds per game. He has reportedly signed with Reyer Venezia in Italy, where he played two years ago. Stone ranked second in the D-League in assists.

He’ll be replaced initially by rookie backup point guard Jordan Loyd, who averages 14.2 points and 3.7 assists per game. Ants shooting guard/small forward Trey McKinney-Jones (14.4 points, 2.1 assists per game) can also move over to the point guard spot when needed.

“It gives us a different look,” Levy said. “Jordan is a better scorer, so he brings a threat in a different way.”

The Mad Ants (20-15) are second in the Central Division, 6.5 games behind Raptors 905. Fort Wayne has the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.

“We were able to be really consistent for the first 30 games or so without very many changes,” Levy said. “They come eventually, it just depends on what portions and how they do come? When it happens, we have to tackle it the best we can and try to move forward and get a playoff push going.”

Stone said, via the team’s official release, that he intends to return to train and attempt to make the Indiana Pacers roster again next season. He was one of four affiliate players on the Mad Ants who spent training camp time with the Pacers.

“I want to thank the entire Fort Wayne organization and Pacer family for having me,” Stone said via the release. “It’s been a wonderful experience for myself and my family.”

Fowler was a second-round pick by the Mad Ants in the D-League draft, but did not make the roster. He has been working out at Central Michigan, Levy said.

The Mad Ants play at Grand Rapids on Wednesday before returning home to face Westchester on Friday at Memorial Coliseum. <br>

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