NEW ORLEANS LA - DECEMBER 26: D.J. Mbenga #28 of the New Orleans Hornets dunks the ball over Mike Bibby #10 of the Atlanta Hawks at the New Orleans Arena on December 26 2010 in New Orleans Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
The D-League has clearly continued to serve as a springboard of sorts for many NBA prospects looking for opportunity.
But in most recent years, it's also served as a league of redemption for NBA veterans who now struggle to break back into The Association themselves. One-time NBA champion Mike James parlayed a successful stint with the BayHawks into a reserve role with the Eastern Conference leading Chicago Bulls last season, whereas players like Antoine Walker and Antonio Daniels have spent full seasons in the D-League as they continue to hope their dreams of playing in the NBA again are realized before time runs out.
The list of veterans using the D-League to hopefully reach a familiar plateau goes on, and now seven-year NBA vet D.J. Mbenga appears to be set to join the ranks. Read more after the jump.
Mbenga has reportedly signed some sort of non-guaranteed contract with the Mavericks that nets him a training camp invite for this coming fall. Though the big man returns to the Mavs, the team that helped him break into the NBA in 2004, there are no guarantees he'll be staying in Dallas for the long haul.
That said, the 7'1" big man has reportedly already agreed to join the Texas Legends (the Mavs' D-League affiliate) pending waiver clearance, should he be let go by the Mavs following camp.
Mbenga has never been one to fill up the stat-sheet in the NBA, only owning career averages of 1.8 points and 1.5 rebounds per game through 234 contests. That said, for a player of his abilities, he's developed quite the longevity in the league. Having spent multiple seasons with contending teams like the Mavs and Lakers, it's safe to say he does enough to garner respect from team staffs.
But if he doesn't make the Mavericks out of training camp, the team still appears dedicated to giving Mbenga a shot to prove himself. He'd certainly be able to use his time in the D-League to dominate the competition as means to assure NBA executives that he's able to hold his own as a backup big man in the league.