Last month, former Erie BayHawks guard D.J. Kennedy was waived by the Memphis Grizzlies, with just less than two weeks to go until training camp.
Fast-forward to October, and the St. John's University product is back in Memphis as if he never left.
After signing a number of players with NBA and D-League experience (including the likes of Ronald Dupree, Flip Murray, and Jerome Jordan) to training camp contracts, the Grizzlies also proceeded to re-sign Kennedy as well.
The team first acquired Kennedy in a small offseason deal with the Cavaliers. The organization certainly raised a few eyebrows when it came to waiving the guard at the time during which they chose to do so. If the guard wasn't in their future plans, why not simply release him following the deal, rather than wait until two weeks before veterans returned to camp?
As it just so happens, perhaps Memphis has more curiosity about the former BayHawk than originally thought. They're now granting him the opportunity to fight his way on and earn a roster spot in training camp.
Many teams invite more players into preseason camp, simply to add more bodies to the roster during practices. Other franchises are now using camp as means to evaluate potential talent to protect for their D-League affiliates.
But in Memphis, the mentality appears a bit different. With a playoff roster that blends youth and experience quite well, the invitees taking part in training camp with the Grizzlies all have legitimate experience, and a handful even have the tools to make immediate impacts on an NBA team this season.
Thus, even the players on non-guaranteed contracts may too be fighting for the chance to make serious contributions for the Grizzlies. With Kennedy joining the bunch, perhaps he can play his heart out, all the while knowing he'll be gunning for something real. The invitees in Memphis don't appear to be simply "fillers" by any means.
After suffering an ACL injury at St. John's during his senior season, there's no doubt Kennedy's stock plummeted heading into the 2011 NBA Draft. Nevertheless, his strong showing with Erie in the D-League helped him prove he's worth another look. His new NBA team certainly appears to think so.
Will the former BayHawk be logging more minutes in the D-League next season, or will he instead be fighting for minutes in the Grizzlies' rotation? Time will tell, but there's no denying Kennedy's opportunity is once again golden in Memphis.