As we approach mid-August, it's clear the dead of the NBA offseason is officially here. Free agency has more or less slowed down, meaning most rosters in The Association are beginning to stabilize, if they haven't already. The deals that matter have already been signed, and spots are being filled up.
What this essentially means, as it relates to the D-League, is that fewer opportunities are available for minor leaguers at this point. As we look ahead to fall, such alumni will be forced to agree to nothing more than a training camp invitation, should they not take advantage of an opportunity overseas before then.
Our good friend Gino Pilato recently penned an excellent piece on DLeagueDigest.com, further highlighting the opportunities that will come each prospect's way in similar situations. As Pilato alludes to, by the time these youngsters wait around and receive camp invitations, such invites are merely extended so that an NBA team has a sufficient amount of ready and able bodies to practice with
The opportunity for these players to legitimately catch on with said NBA teams decreases considerably at this point.
But just like Pilato suggests, there are still ways such a process can work out in a young gun's favor. They can couple the money they've made during training camp with a D-League contract, and/or, of course, simply attempt to snag an international contract following camp.
That said, this very notion raises a question: how quickly should D-League players sign deals overseas? Or better yet, how long can they wait before such opportunities disappear?
Pilato asserts (via Sportando) that plenty of players hit the international hardwood after participating in NBA training camp. Among the players to sign such deals last season included Josh Powell, D.J. Kennedy, DJ White, Xavier Silas, Sam Young, and Kris Joseph.
All of the aforementioned players have some sort of previous NBA experience. They've been around the block a little bit, or at least enough for their names to be more familiar. This assumedly helps them snag international contracts, even when it happens to be much later in the process.
Perhaps international teams are more inclined to specifically make room on their respective rosters (at the expense/cost of cutting someone else last-minute) when such commodities become available. Needless to say, the aforementioned notoriety undoubtedly helps each player.
But for some of the lesser known D-League athletes, perhaps time is of the essence. Following an impressive NBADL campaign, their names are specifically still fresh in the minds of international executives. The same mentality applies with regard to high-quality Summer League performances. Sometimes when a player's name is not yet a household one, it's better to cash in solid play while the opportunities are still guaranteed. If they wait too long, such chances are no longer offered, as proven experience is not present to fall back on.
In talking to a handful of player agents, there's undoubtedly a sense of urgency to find their players the best deals possible after said prospects happen to impress on the hardwood. Strike the iron while its still hot. Make the most money possible following some notable success. In addition, such international experience will aid a player later on, whether that be from greater exposure to a different place, or simply more time to develop one's game.
Either way, it's interesting to note who chooses to wait around for a more substantial NBA look, as opposed to those who chase the money overseas.