Everyone can benefit from a change of scenery, and in the NBA D-League change is perhaps the one constant thing that players can count on. Often times change can present a greater opportunity for players, and looking back at the trades from this NBA D-League season, a number of transactions enabled players to flourish once they landed in their new setting.
Friday, March 8, the NBA D-League trade deadline officially passed. Five last minute deals were accomplished including a trade involving a one-time member of the Houston Rockets, Scott Machado. While teams were looking to fine tune their rosters with last ditch efforts, the trades which carried the largest impact went down prior to the deadline. Check out the top trades in the NBA D-League based upon the player's individual success after being traded, and their lasting impact regarding their new team.
Trade: Jerel McNeal (Rio Grande Valley Vipers) for James Anderson (Bakersfield Jam)
Prior to the NBA D-League draft, the Bakersfield Jam acquired Jerel McNeal, a 6-3, 200 pound point guard from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Entering this season McNeal was a former NBA D-League All-Star and played in 47 games for the Vipers, he averaged 19.4 points, 4.4 assists, and 1.3 steals in 34.4 minutes. The Jam in return, gave up James Anderson who has received two GATORADE Call-UP's this season, one with the San Antonio Spurs and the other with the Houston Rockets. Anderson only played in two preseason games with the Vipers this season.
For the Jam, the trade enabled them to land a valuable piece that has paid off for the team. After spending the beginning of the season as a sixth man or sorts in the Jam's rotation, McNeal has since blossomed into perhaps Bakersfield's most dangerous offensive threat. Recently, McNeal recorded a season high 42 points while dishing out 7 assists in a win over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. This season McNeal is averaging 17.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.8 steals in 30.1 minutes. McNeal has been a huge reason for the Jam's success this season.
Trade: Ben Uzoh (Rio Grande Valley Vipers) for Tim Ohlbrecht (Springfield Armor)
Uzoh and Ohlbrecht swapped places at the very start of the season, the Armor received a proven NBADL player in Uzoh, while RGV seemingly rolled the dice on the German born Ohlbrecht. Ohlbrecht went on to average 13.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in 32 games (29 starts) for the Vipers. The European center had the highest field goal percentage in the NBA D-League when he signed a multi-year deal on February 25 with the Houston Rockets, and managed to raise his game to a new level in his first professional season on American soil.
Uzoh has played in 38 games for the Springfield Armor this season, and started in all 38 contests for the club. The Tulsa product is averaging 13.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.7 assists for the Armor, and has been one of the leaders out on the floor for Springfield all season. His veteran skills have been heavily called upon as the Armor have struggled for most of this season, as they currently sit with a 14-24 record.
Trade: Durrell Summers (Santa Cruz Warriors) for Harouna Mutombo and a third round pick in the 2013 NBA D-League draft (Idaho Stampede)
Without Durrell Summers, who knows where the Idaho Stampede would be in the standings this season? The former Michigan State standout has been one of the bright spots for the club as they have had limited success overall this season. However, Summers has averaged 15.4 points and 4.3 rebounds for the Stampede and has scored over 20 points 10 times for the team. The deal was surely worth what was given up by Idaho, as Summers has shouldered much of the scoring load for the team despite their rocky season.
Trade: Arinze Onuaku and Alex Ruoff (Reno Bighorns) for Dar Tucker (Canton Charge)
The two highlighted players in this deal turned out to be Onuaku and Tucker. Onuaku has enjoyed a tremendous season for the Canton Charge, the former Syracuse alum was selected to the NBA D-League All-Star game this season, and has averaged 12.1 points and 9.4 rebounds. An injury earlier in the season forced Onuaku to miss the NBA D-League Showcase, but the combo forward/center has emerged as one of the NBA D-League's top rebounding and most efficient big men.
Dar Tucker has been a steady contributor for the Bighorns in each of the 29 games he's played in this season. More known for his freakish athletic abilities, Tucker has averaged solid numbers for Reno, the former DePaul product is averaging 14.9 points and 6.1 rebounds in 29.7 minutes.
Trade: A three team (Austin Toros, Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and Santa Cruz Warriors) deal including Wesley Witherspoon, a third round 2013 NBA D-League Draft pick, and Rick Jackson.
Rick Jackson ending up in an Austin Toros uniform proved to be huge for the reigning NBA D-League champions. Jackson has been a monster for the Toros, as he has averaged 9.3 points and 9.1 rebounds in the D-League this season. Jackson is a double-double threat every time he steps out onto the floor for Austin, and the Toros have received an excellent post presence in what has turned out to be one of the best mid-season deals in the D-League this year.
Trade: Luke Harangody (Canton Charge) for JaJuan Johnson and a third round 2013 NBA D-League Draft pick (Fort Wayne Mad Ants)
Harangody was sidelined for nearly a month before returning to action just a short bit ago. Prior to the injury, Harangody was up to his usual dominating ways in the D-League. Fort Wayne landed a top scorer and rebounder in exchange for JaJuan Johnson, who has had trouble finding any sort of rhythm this season. In fact, Johnson is now with the Stampede and still searching for his once highly touted game.
On the other hand, Harangody has posted impressive averages once again in the NBA D-League. In 17 games, Harangody has averaged 19.9 points and 11.8 rebounds in 35.4 minutes. When healthy, Harangody remains as one of the hardest working players on the court which attributes to his enormous rebounding totals.
Trade: A three team deal (Sioux Falls Skyforce, Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and Erie BayHawks) including Andrew Goudelock, Donald Sloan, Mychel Thompson, Mike Singletary and a second round pick in the NBA D-League 2013 Draft
At the time of the deal, this trade was regarded as the biggest move of the NBA D-League season. The player who has had the largest impact with his team since the trade has been Andrew Goudelock. "Mini Mamba" has averaged 20.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists this season in the D-League, and has positioned himself as a top prospect.
Originally drafted by Sioux Falls, Goudelock averaged 20.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists as a member of the Skyforce. He has since raised his assists (5.8) and rebounding (4.4) totals in Rio Grande Valley, and has helped guide the team near the top the of the NBADL standings.
Trade: Justin Dentmon and Luther Head (Austin Toros) for Chris Roberts (Texas Legends)
Dentmon is the reigning NBA D-League MVP, and has been excellent since joining the Legends. However, Chris Roberts at the time of the trade was averaging 17.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.9 assists. In fairness, the deal made sense at the time, but Dentmon has perhaps used the trade to fuel an incredible stretch where he has scored over 30 points five times, and is averaging 25.3 points per game in a Legends uniform.
Dentmon is doing everything that he can to position himself as a top prospect in the D-League. Look for Dentmon to continue putting up huge scoring numbers for the Legends, as his chance for a 10-day contract dwindles by the day.
Trade: James Mays (Springfield Armor) for Kris Joseph (Maine Red Claws)
Another blockbuster deal that went down in the NBA D-League this season involved two of the most talented players currently in the league. Mays is now a member of the Sioux Falls Skyforce after being traded from the Maine Red Claws. Mays has since played in 11 games combined for both Maine and Sioux Falls, and is averaging 15.2 points and 10.2 rebounds on the season. His totals have dipped slightly since leaving the Armor, but he still remains as a top rebounder in the NBADL.
Kris Joseph has relished in the opportunity to play for the Brooklyn Nets NBA D-League affiliate, since being traded Joseph has averaged 23.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 2.9 steals in 8 games. He has become a top prospect in the D-League, and helped the Armor win four straight games immediately after joining the team.
Trade: Jerome Jordan (Reno Bighorns) for Orien Greene and Ronald Dupree (Los Angeles D-Fenders)
In the six games that Jerome Jordan has played for the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the team has dropped only one of those contests. Most recently, Jordan helped the D-Fenders knock off the Austin Toros, and scored 19 points while grabbing 7 rebounds. Jordan is the top center prospect in the NBA D-League, and has proved to become a valuable piece for head coach Reggie Theus.
Greene and Dupree are excellent players in their own right, but Jordan's presence in the D-Fenders lineup has instantly made the D's starting five one of the most feared in the NBA D-League. The 7-footer is averaging 12.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks this season.
With just days to spare before the NBA D-League trade deadline, this mega-deal was completed and most notably sent D.J. Kennedy and Mike Singletary to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. However, after two games with the Erie BayHawks, Mustafa Shakur has proven his worth averaging 22.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists. Shakur has spent that past two seasons playing in Italy and the Vipers held his rights after a previous stint with the club. Now he is back in the NBADL, and looks primed to be a real difference maker for Erie down the stretch.
D.J. Kennedy was the biggest name in this deal and rightly so, Kennedy ranks third all-time in scoring and rebounds, second in assists, and first in steals for the Erie BayHawks franchise. Kennedy was an NBA D-League All-Star this season, and is averaging 18.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 5.4 assists in 38.0 minutes. Kennedy will likely help the Vipers stay near the top of the D-League standings, and guide the team into the playoffs as one of the top contenders.