When you’re considered a “former NBA player” in the D-League, this is often one of two things: 1) You’re on the 30-something-I-still-want-to-play comeback trail, or 2) You made it for a minute but never really got your shot. Either way, the following 10 players received paychecks with David Stern‘s signature and at least one complimentary pair of NBA socks. Now, they’re doing everything they can to try and persuade NBA GMs that they’re worth a second look.
Da’Sean Butler, Austin Toros
Butler was signed by the Spurs in March, but did not appear in any games. After waiving him a couple weeks ago, he has joined the Toros – San Antonio’s D-League affiliate – and is starting to make some noise. If he can prove to GMs that his ACL is fine, then expect him to get called up this season.
Ricky Davis, Maine Red Claws
When work broke that Davis would be joining the D-League, people got excited. And although his production hasn’t been all that great so far, averging just 5.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.0 steals in three games, give Slick Rick some time. The Red Claws are a Celtics affiliate… so keep your fingers crossed.
Gerald Green, Los Angeles D-Fenders
Green popped up in Lakers training camp, and I couldn’t stop thinking about him running the break with Kobe Bryant. Well, things don’t always go as planned. Now with the Lakers’ D-League affiliate, Mitch Kupchak can keep his eye on him and see if he’s worth a flier.
Mike James, TBD
On March 1, 2010, the Wizards bought out James’ contract and waived him – he hasn’t been back since. James played for nine NBA teams in nine seasons, and is one of those guys that you know could come in and run a ball club if asked – kind of like what Kevin Johnson did in Phoenix in 2000 to replace the injured Jason Kidd during the Suns’ playoff run. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein says he’s “still in top shape at 36,” but with guys like Gilbert Arenas and Nate Robinson unemployed, you have to think James’ time has passed.
Damon Jones, TBD
Just before the new year, Stein also reported that Jones would be going the D-League route in hopes of sparking an NBA comeback. And while the self-proclaimed “best shooter in the world” had a forgetful outing in Ohio this summer, he did drop 54 points in Josh Howard’s Celebrity All-Star Game this November. As he awaits to see which D-League team picks him up, it’ll be interesting to see what he does.
Keith McLeod, Canton Charge
Canton brought back McLeod after he was waived from Jazz training camp, losing out to Jamaal Tinsley for a spot on the roster. Tinsley used the D-League to leverage his NBA comeback, and McLeod hopes to do the same playing for his hometown Charge. Through eight games, he’s averaging 14.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.0 steals in 28.9 minutes a night.
Greg Ostertag, Texas Legends
“I don’t have my college degree, and basketball’s what I know. I know basketball.” Ostertag said this to Kevin Scheitrum of NBADLeague.com last week as the 38-year-old makes his final attempt to get back to the NBA. Although he’s signed with the Legends – the affiliate of the size-strapped Dallas Mavericks – Ostertag hasn’t played any sort of organized basketball in five years. Somewhere Karl Malone and John Stockton are shaking their heads.
Gabe Pruitt, TBD
Pruitt, who was invited to Magic training camp, averaged 14.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.8 steals in five games for the Sioux Falls Skyforce this season. But currently sidelined with a foot injury, the team waived him on Friday to make room on the roster. Regardless, he deserves another shot. Once he’s healthy, expect him to either re-sign with the Skyforce or find another team.
Antoine Walker, Idaho Stampede
This season, Walker is old news. I mean, Ricky Buckets will do that to people. After he decided to take his talents to the D-League last December, Walker has played pretty well. Currently averaging 10.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game, it’s doubtful that anyone will sign him – but we’re happy to see he’s still playing.
Terrico White, Idaho Stampede
A month ago, we called White the best free agent no one was talking about after he was waived by the Pistons. And after spending training camp in New Orleans, he’s landed with the Stampede, their D-League affiliate. If not for a foot injury that caused him to miss all of last season, people wouldn’t be sleeping on White right now. Give him a chance to make some noise in the D-League and people will notice.
Would you sign any of these guys to your NBA team?
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