Off the top of my head, I'm hard-pressed to think of another D-League team that has had more transactions this year than the Bakersfield Jam. Maine, perhaps, but that would have more to do with NBA assignees and players joining the team who they got in last year's expansion draft. Fort Wayne, maybe? My point is, the Jam seem to be perpetually re-making their roster, for a variety of reasons. Well it happened again.
Two moves came over the wire last night/this morning that will give this roster yet another new look. First, the team reacquired guard Trey Johnson, who played for them last year and spent the first part of this season in Europe. Second, the team traded point guard Blake Ahearn to the Erie BayHawks for Alade Aminu. This makes the second trade this season for both of those players. What will it mean for the players and teams involved? Let's take a look after the jump.
Let's approach this thing backwards, with the trade first. Ahearn was traded to the Jam from Dakota because he wanted be a starting point guard somewhere. "Somewhere" turned out to be Bakersfield, and while the team was in need of a point guard, Ahearn just never seemed to mesh with the roster. Three-point shooting is a large part of Ahearn's game, and he's struggled from outside this year; his career three-point shooting percentage is 41.1. This season? Try 27.7. Those struggles meant that Jam coach Will Voigt was leaving Ahearn off the floor late in the game and drawing up plays for guys like Patrick Mutombo instead. It was pretty clear that the Ahearn-Bakersfield match wasn't working. Now he goes to Erie, which already has several point guards. Cedric Jackson is back from his NBA call-up, while CLIFF CLINKSCALES has been a quality backup (I'm being serious now). I'm not sure what will happen there, and whether Ahearn will play more two-guard for the BayHawks, but Jackson remains a viable call-up candidate so perhaps they'll eventually have another vacancy there.
Alade Aminu was one of the more coveted players in the run-up to this year's D-League draft, and it's easy to see why. He's athletic, he handles the ball relatively well for a big man and he has what around here we call "ridiculous upside" (hey, that's the name of this website!). The issue with Aminu is that he's fairly raw, and inconsistent. He also didn't have a consistent role with the team - sometimes he started alongside center John Bryant, others he came off the bench as Bryant's backup. The BayHawks, and those players specfically, played much better when Bryant and Aminu were on the court together, so the team may take a bit of a hit with Aminu gone. I suppose this means more playing time for Jarvis Gunter and Kyle Goldcamp, but neither of those players are giving Erie much production this year. Aminu, meanwhile, joins a team that features Brian Butch and John Edwards in the frontcourt. It remains to be seen whether Edwards will continue to start or Aminu will take his place; Butch's game also is different from Bryant's, so Aminu will have to adjust to playing with a center who spends time behind the three-point line.
Trading Ahearn also means that Bakersfield finds themselves in need of a point guard. Enter...Trey Johnson? Johnson was more of a scorer last year (and an all-star), and made 41 percent of his threes. He's developed some mild point guard skills over the past few years, along with some occasional turnover issues, but apparently wanted to play the point in the D-League this year, so here we are. Johnson received a 10-day contract with the Cavaliers last season, and if he shows he can run the point in addition to his other skills he could be in line for another one. Bakersfield is in an interesting position because Jeremy Wise seems to be growing into a decent point guard himself, so they'll have two guys developing into point guards at the same time, likely on the court at the same time. A lineup of Johnson-Wise-Will Daniels-Aminu-Butch could be fun to watch.