There are NBA players threatening to go overseas just to try and put leverage on the NBA labor discussions, showing the owners they have options. They are guys not likely at all to put pen to paper.
Then there are guys who spent the last couple years in the NBA but for whom a jump to Europe makes sense.
Kyle Weaver was with the Utah Jazz last season, the Oklahoma City Thunder the two seasons before that. But the last two seasons combined he has stepped on the court 17 times (he’s also spent time in the D-League). He’s the guy at the end of the bench, not a guy in anyone’s long term plans right now.
So he is jumping to Germany, according to Hoopshype. He’ll be playing for Alba Berlin of the German League, a team with four Americans on it (Derrick Allen who averages 13 points and 4 boards a game, Bryce Taylor, Torin Francis and DeShaun Wood).
For Weaver this makes sense. He insures a payday, he gets some run and he gets the chance to improve his game. Plenty of guys find their way back to the NBA.
Kyle Weaver’s not a bad young guard. He’s not going to set the world on fire or anything, but he’s also not going to be pulling in millions. He’s a prospect that struggled with injury last year, but shot 46% his rookie season.
And the Thunder have no room for him. The Thunder released Weaver this week, completely full-up on talent on a roster loaded with young talent. Russell Westbrook, Eric Maynor, Thabo Sefolosha, James Harden, the Thunder simply have too many good players to make room for Weaver, who has never taken the leap the coaching staff has needed him to.
Weaver has injury concerns and was unable to crack OKC’s rotation, but it’s hard to say he’s another wash-up, considering the flashes he showed in OKC and in the D-League for the Thunder-affiliate 66ers. It wouldn’t surprise to see Weaver picked up by another club looking for an end-of-the-bench guard. After all, Shannon Brown is debating a $4 million offer from the New York Knicks and had a similar start to his career.
It’s a hard life for Thunder GM Sam Presti. He’s literally leaking talent out the edges of the Thunder.
According to Darnell Mayberry, James Harden could be out for the next four weeks after straining his right hamstring.
Harden’s injury has some pretty significant playoff implications for the Thunder, though it shouldn’t affect their claim to a post-season berth; OKC is a full six games ahead of 9th place Memphis, meaning it would take a serious slide by the Thunder to fall out of the playoff picture altogether.
But the next few weeks are crucial for playoff squads still looking to fine-tune their rotations and establish some momentum headed into April. That definitely applies to OKC, a team which not only has to deal with the normal pressures and trials associated with post-season basketball, but must also conquer their inexperience (though they refuse to show it on a nightly basis), a factor which could certainly affect their performance come playoff time.
This is certainly an important time for the Thunder, and though Kyle Weaver recently returned to the team from a stint with the Thunder’s D-League affiliate, the Tulsa 66ers (in which he averaged 12.4 points, 7.2 assists, 5.4 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks in 42.6 minutes, per Royce Young of Daily Thunder), the biggest problem isn’t replacing Harden’s production now. It’s whether or not he’ll fit seamlessly back into the rotation in a month’s time, and whether or not he’ll be healthy enough to contribute to the Thunder’s playoff run.