Time again for Ridiculous Transactions, where we take a look at some of the signings, trades, and cuts from the past week involving D-League players and some others who may not (or may) be in the NBA. Some of these moves are also discussed during the week, but this is a way to make sure we cover what we need to cover, and hopefully take a larger view on some of these moves (and, truthfully, recurring features are always good in a what-should-I-write-about-today sort of way).
August 10: Jeremy Richardson - signed with Aris BSA (Greece); Kaniel Dickens - signed with SLUC Nancy (France)
Aris also signed Ira Newble, but I'm a little less interested in that. Neither Richardson nor Dickens have played in the D-League for a few years, but depending on what they want to do with their careers both could potentially end up back in the U.S., I would guess. Richardson is a solid scorer, and he's gotten several NBA looks, including a dozen or so games with Orlando last year. Dickens is maybe less likely to make the NBA again, as he's 31 now and has a pretty good skill-set to play in Europe, but he's played a bit for Cleveland and if that team loves one thing it's guys they've heard of.
August 11: Linas Kleiza - signed with Olympiacos Piraeus (Greece)
If I can step over and talk about the NBA for a little bit here, Kleiza going to play in Greece combined with the Sonny Weems trade (which is how I'm referring to it) means that a lot will be on JR Smith this year. Sure the Nuggets signed Arron Afflalo, but that was largely for his defense, and while he improved as a shooter last season he's still not a big scorer. Denver's bench scoring took two hits with Weems leaving town and Kleiza leaving the country, so as the roster stands right now, this is the year JR Smith needs to really put everything together.
August 13: Jeremy Tyler - signed with Maccabi Haifa (Israel)
We've touched on this already, but I'll add that Haifa will play in the Israeli Super League last season for the first time in about a decade, so Tyler will face better competition than he could have (and indeed, I wonder if this was a selling point/reason Vaccaro picked them). I still wonder how much playing time Tyler will end up getting, as last year their starting center was Ido Kozikaro, who also plays on the Israeli national team, and I would imagine he'll start again this year. They also have former Division III Player of the Year Ben Strong and Davon Jefferson, who came out of college too early in 2008 but who was a very good high school player. The bottom line is, Haifa has guys who can play already, and now that they're back in the Super League I'm not sure they'll want to spend the time helping Tyler develop his game. I guess we'll see how this goes.
August 14: Josh Shipp - signed with Izmir (Turkey); Houston Rockets - signed with Chase Budinger; Utah Flash - signed head coach Brad Jones to a one-year contract extension; Reno Bighorns - retained Jay Humphries as head coach.
Shipp went undrafted in this year's NBA Draft but landed on Chicago's Summer League team, and while he shot the ball pretty poorly (.192 overall), he occasionally showed some rebounding ability. Plus, I can tell you that Izmir's really nice (they have really good oranges, olives and cucumbers), though going from living in Los Angeles (Shipp went to UCLA) to a small mountain town will be...different. Budinger played a fair amount in Summer League, and can definitely score, though he doesn't contribute much else at this point. Don't be surprised if he ends up with teh Vipers for a stretch or two this season, as Houston's practically swimming in forwards.
As for the coaches, I thought Jones did a good job last year, managing several NBA assignees and using them to help the Flash reach the D-League finals, so this wasn't really a surprise. I think Humphries is a solid coach as well, a former NBA player and assistant under Mike D'Antoni in Phoenix. Reno just missed the playoffs last year, but if they had Rod Benson for the whole season they could've made it in.