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10-Day Contracts: Are they worth it?

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Short Answer:  Not if the NBA doesn't use them to their full potential.  I think this is one part of the NBA that could use some change.  

Don't get me wrong, I think 10-day's are great, probably the greatest thing to come out of the CBA besides former Minot SkyRocket's Head Coach Michael Sanders (Yes, that Mike Sanders.  From UCLA.  NBA vet.  My buyer-of-dinner last night.  Hire him.  I have his contact info.  Thanks).  They offer the NBA a chance to bring a D-League player in for a short-time; D-Leaguer's a chance to show what they can do on a bigger stage in a game with elevated talent.

Wait - that's what the 10-day's should do.  Unfortunately, that is more the exception, rather than the rule.  Since the inception of the D-League, there have been 90 separate D-League call-up's on 10-day contracts.  Although the D-League celebrated the 100th call-up last season, 10-day's can't be signed until January fifthish, when contracts become guaranteed for the remainder of the season.  Before this date, teams can sign a guy for one day and cut them the next (consequently, this happened in the great San Antonio Helps D-League Team Out By Exploiting Crazy D-League Rule '07).

Of these 90 10-day contract call-ups, 35 of them have been extended for the remainder of the season.  This means 65 of them have had at the most 20 day's to show the NBA what they're able to do.  Of those 65, 27 have got their original 10-day and been sent back to the D-League.  Some of them, like Anthony Tolliver earlier this season with New Orleans, haven't even made it into a game.  Others, like Courtney Sims, have had two 10-day contract's and played two total minutes.  If a guy isn't even going to be given a fair chance to show his talent's in an NBA game, why call him up?  Mr. David Stern, I'm looking to you for this answer, as if a team just wanted to watch a player in practice, they more than likely have the funds to travel to Bismarck, North Dakota and watch the loveliness that is a Blake (INTERVIEW COMING SOON.. Questions?) Ahearn jump shot.

The obvious rebuttal would be "well at least they're getting a shot to show the NBA what they've got to offer!"  To that, I answer, is that such a good thing?  Not to say that the D-League doesn't have talented players, it does, but it the NBA is turning into a league of the have's.  

For whatever reason, the NBA is afraid now to try something new, rather loving the retreads that have been there before.  Is experience valuable? Very.  However, as Cinderella once said (the band, not what a certain blogger referenced frequently on RU probably watched after the Bachelor last night) "Ya don't know whatcha got, til it's gone."  Like Cinderella.  They're gone, now this guy does covers of their songs.  Terrible covers, I might add.

However, more pertinent to this story, I'm talking about D-Leaguer's.  If they're not given a fair shake, what is the incentive to stay stateside?  Twelve of the last thirteen D-League call-up's last season are currently in the D-League (including Eddie Gill, who will be back Thursday).  I blame this mostly on Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Martynas Andriuskevicius, Fran Vasquez, and the like.  Since the European boom, the NBA seems to be relying more on retreads than ever before.

Best example in recent memory is of course the Orlando Magic need a point guard or else scare of earlier this season (Coincidentally, this resulted in the highlight of my life, until Maurice Baker folded under pressure; now Skeets won't return my calls, twitters, and the like).   Fortunately, instead of going to the D-League, they traded for 10 year vet Tyronn Lue, who has played in six games for the Magic, shooting an astounding(ly terrible) 31% from the field.  Meanwhile three hungry players looking for a shot at getting into this exclusive network (Blake Ahearn, John Lucas and Will Conroy) are all still toiling in the D-League.  Great job, Otis.  Great as your freakin' name!

If the NBA was smart, they would do something to keep our talent here in America.  Give these guys an opportunity.  It's not like they don't deserve it.  They work their butt's off through college, go undrafted, end up in locale's like the Rio Grande Valley, a place called Erie and, soon enough, the second most popular city named Portland in the United States.  From their, they take seven day road trips like Fort Wayne is about to embark on: Los Angeles to Anaheim to Reno to Bakersfield to Austin.  While going to five different cities in seven days, they stay two to a room at Days Inn's, bussing to half their destinations, all while trying to impress some NBA general manager, who might be in attendance or watching on futurecast, possibly looking for a certain talent they possess, making about $17,000 for the season.

Let's be smart about it NBA.  I'm not sure what it will take to get this to make sense for these guys, but right now, this is the first season that there will be less 10-day call-up's than the year before since the inception of the D-League.  If your favorite athlete goes overseas after being spurned by the NBA, now you know why.  The NBA must utilize the D-League for it to make sense.