Tag: D-League


Bay Area rapper Lil B, 76-year old man try out for D-League


Not to go all Forest Gump (because we all should avoid that as much as possible), but you really do never know what you are going to get with a D-League tryout.

Take the Santa Cruz Warriors, the Golden State affiliate (moved from South Dakota the season before), which held an open tryout on Saturday. Who showed up?

Well, there was Bay Area rapper Lil B, who has been tweeting about making the team.

Then there was the 76-year-old guy, as the Santa Cruz Sentinel detailed.

Seventy-six-year-old Don Wiberg hadn’t played basketball in 20 years, having traded it in for beach volleyball, when he stepped on the court Sunday. He admits he couldn’t make his high school team and that he played one year at Cal Tech before deciding he was better at water polo.

Still, he couldn’t resist the S.C. Warriors’ claim that it would welcome anyone over 18 who was willing to pay the $100-125 entry fee.

“It’s on my bucket list,” he said. “You know, what the hell.”

Good for him. And he has the same odds of making the team as Lil B.

Report: Ewing insulted by offer to coach Knicks D-League team

Orlando Magic v San Antonio Spurs

UPDATE 10:42 am: ESPNNewYork took this one step further, saying that not only did Ewing turn down the D-League job, he was pretty ticked that’s all the franchise ever offered.

One source close to Ewing said the Hall of Famer felt a bit slighted by the Knicks’ offer to coach the Erie Bayhawks because he has already established himself in the NBA.

“Patrick has paid his dues,” the source said. “He was a little insulted.”

I can get why Knicks coach Mike Woodson didn’t want to add Ewing to has staff as an assistant, that would have led to a lot of “if things don’t go well we’ve got a coach in waiting in the wings” talk. You know, pretty much what happened with him and Mike D’Antoni.

9:05 am: Well, Patrick Ewing did get a head coaching offer this summer. It just wasn’t the one he expected. Or wanted.

Ewing interviewed for the Bobcats head coaching job this year, he interviewed for the Pistons job last year and… really, it would be faster to list the teams where Ewing hasn’t been passed over. He’s paid his dues as an assistant but has never been offered the big chair.

Except in the D-League, reports Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.

Patrick Ewing, who for years has been passed over for coaching positions with the Knicks, recently turned down an opportunity to become head coach of the club’s D-League team, the Daily News has learned.

Although Ewing is out of work after he was not retained by Orlando, the ex-Knicks great, who interviewed for the Charlotte Bobcats’ head coach position in June, would prefer to work in the NBA.

Ewing is an experienced assistant coach having most recently been on Stan Van Gundy’s staff in Orlando, with stops in Washington and Houston before that. He has interviewed for a number of NBA head coaching jobs but has never gotten an offer.

I don’t know why Ewing didn’t take the Knicks offer (reportedly he would prefer to stay at the NBA level), but I will say there is a perception among some around the NBA that if a coach goes to the D-League he can’t use that as a stepping stone to an NBA head-coaching job. That perception may be unfair and even untrue, but it is out there and some people buy into it. They think the best path to an NBA head coaching job is as an assistant at that level.

The Knicks have an open assistant coach position but Mike Woodson is expected to hire LaSalle Thompson for that spot. They have yet to hire a coach for their D-League team, the Erie Bayhawks.

NBA trying out ads on uniforms in the D-League playoffs


Check out the D-League playoffs (now in the semi-finals) and you may notice something — a BBVA bank logo on the back of every jersey. All-season those jerseys have had the adidas logo (they are the jersey manufacturer) on the upper right chest area but the bank ad is new for the playoffs.

While the NBA owners are still thinking about ads on jerseys for the season after next, they are trying it out in the D-League during the playoffs.

From the Associated Press (via SLAM).

BBVA’s logo will be featured across the back of all jerseys during the NBA D-League playoffs, the league announced Monday. It’s the first time a marketing partner will have brand exposure on a D-League jersey other than adidas, the league’s official outfitter.

BBVA, a financial service institution, is the presenting partner of the NBA D-League playoffs and finals.

I’m telling you, the day is coming. In two seasons they are not going to replace “Celtics” with “Sprite” across the chest, but the adidas logo could show up like it does on the D-League jersey. Another logo smaller on the back is possible. And it will grow from there. Other sports (not just soccer and NASCAR) will follow suit.

Why? Money. And if that bothers you, sorry. Welcome to capitalism.

League sets record for D-League call-ups

New York Knicks' Lin pumps his fist from the bench as teammates score during their NBA basketball game in Toronto

The NBA D-League made the following announcement today (h/t: iamagm.com)

The NBA Development League (NBA D-League) experienced its most successful season ever in developing NBA talent as it set all-time records with 50 GATORADE Call-ups, breaking the previous record of 40 set during the 2009-10 season, and 64 NBA player assignments, surpassing the previous record of 56 assignments established last year.

As the NBA regular season draws to a close, 25 percent of team rosters consist of players with NBA D-League experience (108), including 36 percent from the 2010 and 2011 NBA Draft classes (43). Featuring former Erie BayHawks and Reno Bighorns star Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks, former Los Angeles D-Fenders star Gerald Green of the New Jersey Nets, former Tulsa 66ers star Ramon Sessions of the Los Angeles Lakers and former Rio Grande Valley Viper star C.J. Watson of the Chicago Bulls, all 30 NBA teams now have at least one player who previously made his mark in the NBA D-League.

None of this should be surprising: teams are getting more and more comfortable using the D-League as a place to find players, the lockout-compressed season necessitated a need for more fresh legs and injury replacements, and players like Jeremy Lin are making teams realize that former D-Leaguers can turn into really, really effective players.

The D-League will never be a “true” minor league system like baseball’s is — don’t expect Anthony Davis to spend a minute in the D-League next year unless he’s rehabbing an injury — but it’s become an extremely valuable resource to a number of teams. Even though the money that top European teams pay will likely always be better than what D-League teams can offer, it appears that the D-League is here to stay.

Antoine Walker announces retirement from D-League

Antoine Walker D-League

For the past couple seasons, a guy named Antoine Walker was playing for the Idaho Stampede in the D-League who looked and sounded a lot like the former Celtic and three-time All-Star.

But if you watched him he was a shell of that former player (which is why he never got another shot in the NBA). He had become a player more known as a cautionary tale of losing money than the Chicago legend who went on to play for storied teams like Kentucky and the Celtics. A guy who picked up a ring in 2006 with the Heat.

Saturday night, at the end of the Stampede’s season, he announced his retirement.

He announced it quietly, in the Stampede locker room, the team announced, a stark contrast to the bombastic player who could score and shimmy with the best of them. He is walking away from the game after a dozen seasons in the NBA and two in the D-League. A formal announcement is expected soon

Rather thank talk about what happened off the court, I will choose to remember the guy who could make the best defenders in the game look helpless.