Time once again for Ridiculous Transactions, wherein we talk about all the signings, trades, and waivers that involve the players we love to talk about - D-Leaguers! (and also some European players and a handful of NBA players). Putting aside the discussion of whether these guys should be playing overseas or not, let's get right to this week's moves.
August 1: L.A. Clippers - waived Mike Taylor; Milwaukee Bucks - requested waivers for Salim Stoudamire, then traded Malik Allen to the Denver Nuggets for Walter Sharpe and Sonny Weems; L.A. Lakers - waived Sun Yue; Boston Celtics - waived Gabe Pruitt
This was a dark day in the NBA. Mike Taylor was waived after Sebastian Telfair was brought in. He's not a perfect player by any stretch, but he's shown he can definitely play. We've already discussed Sun Yue. I didn't really expect Stoudamire to make the team, but it would have been fun. Gabe Pruitt didn't have the best Summer League, and the Celtics have been more interested in signing veterans the last few years than in letting their guys actually develop, so his release isn't all that shocking. All expectations are that the Bucks are going to waive Sonny Weems, because as I understand it his contract is guaranteed after a certain date. Assuming that happens it'll really be too bad, not just because Weems can play in the NBA, but how fun would it be to see him running the floor with Brandon Jennings, Joe Alexander and Amir Johnson? The answer is really, really fun.
Burrell going to Europe was probably an inevitability. He's a good defender, but doesn't do enough other things well enough to get an NBA call-up, so at this point heading overseas was probably more attractive than hanging around the D-League. Between his and Sqeaky Johnson's leaving and Marcus Williams and Malik Hairston likely making the Spurs roster out of training camp, the Toros are going to look a lot different next year. I'm only mentioning Ollie here because I really, really hope that this is some kind of "assign him to Tulsa where he can play for a year and learn how to be a coach" deal. I believe he's the 15th man on the OKC roster, and they already have something like six guards, so the fact that he might take playing time away from someone like Kyle Weaver or Shaun Livingston is pretty mind-boggling.
So it's finally official, and Air Georgia is headed for Greece. As I mentioned yesterday I don't think this is the worst idea for his career, but I also do sort-of wonder about all these defensive specialists going overseas. Not because people don't traditionally think of defense when they think of European basketball, but because it would seem that NBA teams would be on the lookout for those types of players during the season. Then again, perhaps someone like Petway can boost his offensive numbers a little bit over there and be more attractive as an all-around player to an NBA squad. Vaden going back to Europe isn't a huge deal, though I do sort-of wonder how serious the Thunder are about having him in their plans. Given that they own their own D-League team and run the pro system there, I would think that at some point they would want to give their prospects as much chance to learn that system as possible.
August 6: Kevin Lyde - signed with Eisbaren Bremerhaven (Germany); Kasib Powell - signed with Trikasa (Greece); Ahmad Nivins - signed with Manresa (Spain); Dakota Wizards - retained Kevin Rice as assistant coach; New Orleans Hornets - hired Robert Pack as an assistant coach
Nivins had flashes of looking really good in Summer League this season, and I wonder if his going over to Spain for a year has to do with the Mavs' new affiliate going "underground" until the 2010-2011 season. If so this makes good sense, in that he was unlikely to get much playing time off the Dallas bench, and this will keep him sharp and in playing shape. Lyde rebounded really well in his limited Summer League action, and while he's been to training camp with the Jazz a few times I don't think it was in the cards this year. 2010 is when the next Sail Bremerhaven is going to be held, which is a big international sailing convention, so that might be fun to check out. Hopefully Kasib Powell will check in with us before he heads to Greece, but as I mentioned yesterday, he's already been a D-League MVP and did really will at Summer League this year, so if he hasn't gotten an NBA offer then spending a year in Greece wouldn't be the worst thing.
Pack is a New Orleans native, so this is a nice homecoming for him, but I also hope that his presence and access to the coaching staff and front office there will make the team a little more receptive to the D-League. As far as I know, their only experience with D-League players so far has been that they like Courtney Sims, but haven't signed him. For a team that had as many bench scoring and backup center problems as they did last year, they really should have been looking at places like the D-League for help.
Rice being retained as an assistant with Dakota may seem a little awkward, as he was mentioned as a possible (though maybe not a front-running) candidate for the head position, but he knows the team and the area, brings a measure of continuity post-Ticknor, and he's a good defensive coach. It probably won't be too much longer before he's running his own squad.
August 7: Jared Jordan - signed with Telekom Baskets Bonn (Germany)
Jordan going to Europe means he likely wasn't in the Rockets/Vipers' long-term plans, which may seem surprising for a guy who racked up so many assists in college and the D-League, but he also didn't get a lot of playing time in Summer League, so the writing may have been on the wall there. And, while I know we always say these guys should stay in the US, I wouldn't mind living in Bonn for a year.
UPDATE: Yo, this is Scott. Jon L wrote this before his vacation yesterday. A couple of other big moves happened late Friday night and my social life and monetary situation lacks just enough that I was checking the European basketball transactions so that I could update you all! Without further adieu:
Trent Plaisted signed with Zadar in Croatia - Well, this move probably shouldn't surprise you since he averaged 3.0 points and 2.8 boards in Summer League, but the last ever pick of the Seattle Supersonics (later traded for DJ White) is headed back overseas. He was set to play in Italy last season, but had a season-ending back injury just two games into the season. Apparently Detroit likes him less than Ben Wallace, though I have no idea why they wouldn't rather give a young guy a shot instead of paying the artist formerly known as Big Ben.
TJ Parker signed with Asvel in France - Why should you care? Well, you probably shouldn't because he hasn't even been able to parlay being Tony Parker's younger brother into a Summer League invite. I believe he was also the best player on SLUC Nancy, the team Rod Benson played for before returning to the D-League around Christmas last season.
Ben Woodside signed with Gravelines-Dunkerque in France - Well, this one hurts me. Since I'm employed by the Dakota Wizards, I've been salivating at the thought of Woodside being a likely allocation player due to his North Dakota State alumni status. However, it apparently wasn't meant to be. Woodside played for the Timberwolves in Vegas, but never really got his chance to shine behind Jonny Flynn. Also, Gravelines-Dunkerque is a cool name for a basketball team.
Robert Dozier signed with Kolossos Rhodes in Greece - Dozier isn't used to losing (Memphis was 137-14 while he was there) so hopefully this Kolossos team is good. I always thought Dozier was the sort of player that would dominate the D-League, but apparently it wasn't meant to be. Dozier was also the final pick in the draft in June, but apparently he didn't impress Miami in whatever they did instead of Summer League. They do retain his rights though, so it's not all bad.
Jeremy Pargo signed Gilboa Galil in Israel - Pargo played for the Pistons this Summer, and played well, averaging 10 points and shooting 50% from the field in three games. Still, the Pistons apparently didn't have room for him and since players like his older brother Jannero are taking all the good jobs, Jeremy apparently felt that overseas was the right route to go. He's another guy that would have been good in the D-League.
Gary Forbes signed with US Gruppo Triboldi in Italy - Forbes had a great Summer League for the D-League Select team averaging almost 18 points per game, but like everyone else that played in the D-League last season and got a Summer League invite, it seems he's headed overseas. I feel like more guys should play in the D-League this season just so they can play on the Select team in Vegas next Summer. Anyway, I follow Gary on Twitter and he explains it like this: crossin dem waters for that extra bread n then b back for the league nxt year. I feel you, Mr. Forbes - wish I could cross dem waters for extra bread!