NBA Roster Cuts Enhance D-League Rosters

The NBA lockout caused quite a few players to stay at home this fall in hopes of getting noticed by an NBA team as a training camp participant. It turned out to be a good decision as 127 players were invited to camp on non-guaranteed contracts, but only 23 of those players ended up actually making an NBA roster once opening day rolled around.

Those that didn't make it are kind of left in the cold, as of now, considering the majority of European jobs are filled at this juncture of the season. The lone remaining option for many of these players is the NBA Development League -- and it's an option many are taking advantage of this week.

NBA veterans like Ricky Davis and Greg Ostertag have signed with the D-League this week so they're rightfully getting the majority of the credit, but there are quite a few other talented players signing contracts with the NBA's official minor league in hopes of getting a call-up. Their timing is good, too, as the majority of the players signing this week will have two weeks to get acclimated with their new teams before being thrust into the spotlight that is the D-League Showcase in early January.

The Showcase, taking place in lovely Reno (your's truly will be in attendance so let me know if you'll be there too), is typically the best chance at getting a call-up with NBA decision-makers from all 30 teams expected to be in attendance -- and many players are apparently banking on that as their window of opportunity at getting into the NBA.

Starting about a week ago, the majority of NBA training camp invites that were called up from the D-League have slowly trickled back to the teams they began their season with earlier this year. Quite a bit of a new blood has entered the D-League, too, under the affiliate rule that was implemented last season -- something I suggested would happen earlier this month.

Following are the moves that each team has made over the past couple of days:

  • The San Antonio Spurs were able to ship former second round pick Da'Sean Butler to their D-League team, the Austin Toros. They also brought back Leo Lyons and Luke Zeller after losing them for awhile to NBA training camps.
  • The Bakersfield Jam added rookie Jeremy Hazell after he was cut in training camp from their affiliate, the Phoenix Suns. They added Miami Heat camp invite Jeremy Wise and former NBAer Brandon Wallace last week, as well.
  • The Canton Charge, owned by the Cleveland Cavaliers, added Manny Harris after the second-year pro was cut in camp in favor of former D-Leaguer Mychel Thompson. Canton also brought back the last of their remaining camp invites this week when Keith McLeod returned from the Utah Jazz training camp.
  • The Dakota Wizards lost Mickell Gladness to the Heat, but have replaced him with Golden State Warriors training camp cut Tommy Smith. Joey Whelan has more on Smith, who has an interesting past, at the NBC Sports blog.
  • The Erie BayHawks were able to add Devin Green after their new owners, the New York Knicks, cut him in training camp. Along with D.J. Kennedy, Jay Larranaga's squad has a couple of interesting NBA prospects on the wing. The team also re-acquired big man Chris Daniels after he was released by the Los Angeles Lakers during their final round of roster cuts.
  • The Idaho Stampede acquired former second round pick Terrico White from their affiliate New Orleans Hornets to go with Utah Jazz castoff Paul Carter. They suffered a rather large loss too, however, as point guard Kevin Galloway left the team due to "personal reasons."
  • The Iowa Energy have made a couple of under the radar moves over the last couple of days. Along with bringing back Marqus Blakely and Jarrid Famous after they were cut in camp, the team has also added Mike Efevberha and traded Mardy Collins (whom they acquired after their affiliate Washington Wizards cut him) to the Los Angeles D-Fenders for two future third-round picks.
  • Speaking of the D-Fenders, Eric Musselman's team has brought in quite a bit of talent as Collins will join Gerald Green, rookie Malcolm Thomas and three other players returning from camp in Courtney Fortson, Zack Andrews and Elijah Millsap.
  • The Maine Red Claws have been busy as well as general manager Jon Jennings made a successful waiver claim to grab Ricky Davis and then went out and traded for NBA cuts Jerome Randle and Lawrence Hill in return for a pair of picks in next year's D-League Draft. Maine also added Xavier Silas from their NBA affiliate Philadelphia 76ers while returning Durrell Summers and Kenny Hayes from NBA camps.
  • The Reno Bighorns did the majority of their work last week when Blake Ahearn, Zach Graham and Doug Thomas returned from their respective training camps, but the team announced on Tuesday that Sacramento Kings cut Adrian Oliver will take the place of an injured Cedric Bozeman on the roster.
  • The Rio Grande Valley Vipers added a needed boost of talent in the form of Houston Rockets cuts (and rookies) Damian Saunders and Greg Smith after losing Terrel Harris to the Heat.
  • The Texas Legends were able to add NBA veteran Greg Ostertag from the waiver wire, but he won't be alone as Jamal Sampson and Matt Rogers have both returned from their respective training camps to re-join Del Harris's squad. The Legends also added Dallas Mavericks camp invite Drew Neitzel to the backcourt while adding a couple of draft picks in the deal previously explained during the Maine write-up above.
  • Last, but not least, the Tulsa 66ers re-acquired a pair of their top players in Larry Owens and Jerome Dyson. The former was in Washington Wizards camp while the latter was recently released by the New Orleans Hornets.

As I mentioned earlier -- lots of talent has entered the D-League -- and more players are expected before the weekend.

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