Does Kelenna Azubuike's Future Contain Another D-League Stint?

Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

After recently being waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers, former D-League standout and all-around good guy Kelenna Azubuike, may want to consider starting off the 2012-2013 season in the D-League if the opportunity presents itself.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have decided that Kelenna Azubuike didn't possess enough of what they were looking for out of the veteran swingman at this stage in training camp. The Cavs waived Azubuike in an effort to create a possible roster spot for a cast which includes Micheal Eric, Kevin Jones, Samardo Samuels, Donald Sloan and even Daniel Gibson. Azubuike, whose career was severely affected by a horrific knee injury originally suffered back in 2009, claims he is 100%. Perhaps the former D-League standout should revisit the league with a stint to prove he is fully capable of playing at the NBA level once again.

In 2011, Azubuike needed another surgery to correct his original operation for his torn left patella tendon. Azubuike entered Cavs training camp amidst questions as to where exactly his level of strength and performance would be having only briefly played (12 games) in the past two seasons. Azubuike saw action in just one game this preseason with Cleveland in which he scored 6 points, grabbed 3 rebounds and added 1 steal in 13:53 minutes of work. Due to Azubuike's contract situation, Cleveland will still need to pay him $854,389 despite him being cut by the team. With that said, Cleveland must have felt Azubuike was still a ways out from fully recovering to the point where he could play significant minutes for their club.

Azubuike is no stranger to the NBA D-League. In fact last season he was a member of the Texas Legends as the Dallas Mavericks assigned the 6'5'' former Kentucky Wildcat to the team.

While at the Legends, Azubuike averaged 6.4 points, 3.4 rebounds in 12.7 minutes during his seven game stint. Azubuike landed on the NBA map after his impressive 2006-2007 season with the Fort Wayne Flyers in the D-League. The guard averaged a league-best 26.0 points in 37.7 minutes of play while adding 5.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.8 steals as well. It ultimately landed him a spot with the Golden State Warriors as he became the D-League's first Gatorade call-up that season.

Azubuike enjoyed his most success during his 2008-2009 campaign with Golden State, he averaged 14.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. He played in a total of 74 games that year starting in 51 games where he averaged 32.1 minutes. He was a solid and efficient shooter who at times displayed impressive athleticism.

Familiar with the process and the rewards of playing in D-League, Azubuike could possibly be lured back pending no other NBA teams taking a flier on him before the start of this season. As of now, there are no reports stating Azubuike's wishes on his future.

However, playing a solid amount of minutes and being a featured player for a D-League team to start 2012-2013 would surely be a nice option for him to consider. If Azubuike truly feels his physical status is 100%, his best chance to prove that to NBA scouts and executives may just come by turning in one last successful D-League stint.

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