Every week (starting about a week ago), we here at RU will take a look at some relevant player transactions from the past week. Players signing with the D-League, D-League players going to Europe, transactions involving the odd Summer League player (odd meaning we're not going to cover all of them, not meaning, like, Robert Swift), trades of a similar ilk, etc. This one should be interesting because I just finished writing that Jam coach post and I'm still in a state of annoyance.
July 26: Richie Frahm - signed with Mersin Buyuksahir Belediyesi (Turkey); Stephane Lasme - signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
This is the same team that Jimmy Baron signed with last week, and given Frahm's signing Baron has now a mentor and a guy who's going to take all of his minutes. Frahm's a very good three-point shooter, though he doesn't contribute much else. Then again, he likely won't have to. Lasme was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 2007, didn't play much there and went to the D-League for awhile and then getting a 10-day contract with the Heat before playing in Europe last season. He was a solid shot-blocker and rebounder in Serbia last year, though he didn't produce all that consistently in Summer League a few weeks ago. He played for the Spurs team, though, and I'd bet they're keeping an eye on him.
July 27: Trent Plaisted - signed with Reggio Emilia (Italy); James Augustine - signed with Gran Canaria (Spain)
Plaisted was drafted in 2008 by Seattle then went to Detroit as part of the DJ White deal. He played for the Pistons' Summer League team, though that team was focused on more recent draft picks and he didn't get a ton of playing time. He finished with pretty good per-minute rebounding numbers, though. Augustine's has bounced between the D-League and the NBA, and he's the University of Illinois' all-time leading rebounder. His offense went steadily downhill at Summer League this year (scoring 21 points in the first game and zero in the last), but he can definitely rebound.
July 28: Othyus Jeffers - signed with NGC Cantu' (Italy); Richard Hendrix - signed with Granada (Spain)
Sigh. Look, I may not always seem like it on this site, but I'm a fairly realistic person. Some (many) people would
(did) say "cynical." So when I talk about Summer League rosters and how, say, a D-League did well or how his
skills might fit in with a specific NBA roster, I'm doing it because it's something to talk about. I know that for a lot of guys it's still a longshot, and that there just aren't enough NBA teams who pay attention to the D-League for these guys to get enough looks, and that teams are still apparently willing to explore signing a retired-and-not-all-that-good-anyway Jason Williams instead of a solid D-League player.
I know all that. I get it. But it's still disappointing to see guys like Hendrix and Jeffers go overseas. And not because Italy and Spain are bad places to play - they're not, in fact. But Hendrix had a great Summer League (both in Orlando and in Vegas) and was a top rebounder in the D-League last season, and Othyus Jeffers is a solid all-around offensive player in addition to being a lockdown defender. Both of those guys can play in the NBA right now. I don't know whether it's a function of the shrinking salary cap or that teams are still stuck on "names,"* but it seems like this offseason more and more of last year's D-League stars are headed to Europe. The league's going to look a lot different come the fall.
*And yes, I'm away of the contradiction of going after the Jam for hiring a "no-name" coach while going after NBA teams for not signing "no-name" players. But that's because...you see...it's different in that...shut up.
July 30: Nick Fazekas - signed with JDA Dijon (France)
Fazekas played well for the Celtics at Orlando Summer League, but they have a lot of forwards so that wasn't ever really a realistic option (see? I'm realistic). Still, despite not having the strongest upper body, Fazekas produces pretty well on the court. For some reason in my head I could've seen him fitting in with Oklahoma City while they give DJ White and Serge Ibaka a little more development time, but that's just me.
July 31: Kevin Rogers - signed with Panionios (Greece); Chicago Bulls - waived DeMarcus Nelson and Linton Johnson; Bakersfield Jam - hired Will Voigt as head coach
Seeing both Nelson and Johnson cut is a little tough, though Johnson's being released isn't a total shock. He was trying to make the roster this time around as a defensive stopper at power forward, and while I didn't see the results, remaking your body that way (he would've had to bulk up to succeed in that role) in a short period of time can be tough. It would've been nice to see Nelson step into a reserve shooting guard role after Ben Gordon left for Milwaukee, but the Bulls apparently thought a Pargo brother would be better for that. Kevin Rogers is a little raw for the NBA, but with a season or two in the D-League he could've become a solid player. He was decently efficient in Orlando Summer League this year, and he had solid shot-blocking and rebounding numbers.
Most of my thoughts on Voigt's hiring can be found in the post announcing the hire, but since that dealt mostly with how he was hired I'll just add that he did win a few ABA championships, which I don't know what kind of talent level he had but at the very least shows he didn't screw up a good thing (if he had one), and while there are other former head coaches and promising assistants out there who deserve a shot, and while I personally would've tried to snag a talented or at least well-known coach this year to a.) bring in fans and b.) justify their ticket prices, the Bakersfield ownership may not have wanted to go that route given the uncertainty over whether their plan will work or not.