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Returning Players Prove All Is Not Lost For The NBA D-League This Season

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Ever since the NBA lockout began, I was quite pessimistic regarding the fate of the D-League this season. If Tuesday's news is any indication, however, that pessimism wasn't warranted.

The Sioux Falls Skyforce announced that Anthony Mason, Jr., would be returning for a second season to the D-League after the son of former NBA player Anthony Mason had his rookie year last season cut short due to injury. Not to be outdone, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants announced that their own Jr. -- Walker Russell -- would be returning along with former Golden State Warriors big man Chris Hunter and perennial preseason camp invitee Ron Howard.

While none of the four players currently planning their return to the NBA Development League elicit a "Wow!" reaction, even from your's truly, they have all been fringe NBA players in the past and probably had chances to play overseas for more money than their D-League contracts can offer.

It's still very early in the process considering the D-League season is still over two months away so the fact that these players have already committed to play in Fort Wayne and Sioux Falls next weekend shows that playing in the D-League isn't as dire as I originally thought.

It is a bit perplexing to find the allure of signing so early, though, as the main reason to play in the D-League -- for a lesser salary than most jobs in Europe/Asia -- is because there's a good chance of being called up to an NBA roster and the current lockout makes that impossible.