The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have waived 26-year old guard Mustafa Shakur, who had signed a partially guaranteed contract with the team earlier this off-season. The Hornets’ recent acquisition of guard Curtis Jerrells made this move all but inevitable.
The former Arizona standout has come achingly close to making an NBA rotation a few times in his professional career, but it hasn’t quite happened for him yet — Shakur was a Lakers summer league invite in 2009 and signed a 10-day contract with the Thunder, but never appeared in a game for either team.
Shakur was named a D-League All-Star in 2010, and also has professional experience overseas.
There’s a little bit of subtext to a move that’s going to largely glossed over by the media types. The San Antonio Spurs today traded guard Curtis Jerrells to the New Orleans Hornets for a second round pick. Without a doubt this move came about as a result of New Orleans’ new GM, Dell Demps, the former Spurs VP and GM of the Austin Toros, for whom Jerrells played extensively and was assigned after being formally signed last season.
The Hornets traded Darren Collison to improve their wing depth with Trevor Ariza and in turn needed a backup guard to fill out the end of their rotation. Demps has kept Jerrells in the Spurs system for a full year, developing his abilities and watched him improve. He showed a lot of improvement in Summer League, but of course, the Spurs don’t need him. That’s the irony of San Antonio’s development system. The draft and sign such good free agents that their development system is a considerable surplus.
Ready for double-irony? The same surplus that prevented Jerrells from being necessary in San Antonio lead to his being traded for a pick… which will most likely be spent on a player that will wind up in the development system.
Meanwhile, Jerrells could end up getting some minutes with the Hornets. He has good perimeter ability and knows how to run an offense. The Hornets will need that, especially if, you know, the worst thing possible happens and CP3 gets dinged up again.
The San Antonio Spurs have kinda sorta been committed to Curtis Jerrells since training camp. He’s been a Spur even though he wasn’t a Spur. Catch my drift? They paid him some serious coin in training camp ($75,000, according to ShamSports), presumably to stick around with San Antonio’s D-League affiliate, the Austin Toros.
So he did. Jerrells has played well for the Toros this season (20.7 PPG, 5.6 APG, and 4.6 RPG), but now he’s been signed for the rest of the year by the Spurs. So he’ll pack his bags, call up his family and friends and…suit up to play in Austin, the same team he’s been playing for all along.
It’s a little weird, but Scott Schroeder of Ridiculous Upside has nailed down the most logical theory: another NBA team was showing interest in Jerrells, so the Spurs have signed him and paid him in order to keep him developing in-house. San Antonio clearly has an interest in retaining Curtis, even if they haven’t offered him a long-term contract. So the latest D-League call-up won’t be making his NBA debut just yet, but supposing he can hold San Antonio’s interest, his time is coming.