PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Trail Blazers have assigned rookies Will Barton and Victor Claver to Portland’s development league affiliate, the Idaho Stampede.
As NBA teams continue their training camps in preparation for their season’s late October tipoff, many of their D-League affiliates are conducting open tryouts in the hope of adding talent to add to their rosters before their season begins on the Friday after Thanksgiving. While such tryouts are often intended to unearth overlooked diamonds in the rough and give young players a chance to compete, D-League teams have famously brought older veterans into the fold, including Ricky Davis, Greg Ostertag and Antoine Walker, whose ill-fated comeback with the Idaho Stampede ended this past April .
At a Sunday tryout for the newly minted Santa Cruz Warriors, the Golden State Warriors affiliate formerly based in North Dakota and named the Dakota Wizards, though, a player took the floor who makes Walker, Ostertag, Davis and every other player in D-League history look like spring chickens. The 68 players who showed up at Aptos High School in Aptos, Calif., to compete for a D-League training camp invite included members of the Washington Generals (as in “the guys who play the Harlem Globetrotters”), Bay Area rapper/noted curser and uncurser of Kevin Durant/Based God Lil B … and a professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz who was born before Batman was . From Julie Jag at the Santa Cruz Sentinel :
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.”
If you can afford the entry fee, a portion of the proceeds from which will reportedly be donated to Aptos High and Santa Cruz City Schools , then “What the hell,” indeed! Don’t take yourself out of the running before the race even starts — let the front office decide whether it primarily values youth and athleticism or if it prefers the steady hand of veteran leadership. For proof that it’s often the latter, just take a look at the New York Knicks’ roster. (In fact, I’m surprised Glen Grunwald hasn’t already inked Wiman to a three-year deal.)
BOISE, Idaho (AP) Former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker is calling it quits after spending two seasons trying to rejuvenate his career with the Idaho Stampede.
Former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker is calling it quits after spending two seasons trying to rejuvenate his career with the Idaho Stampede. The 35-year-old Walker announced his retirement last weekend to teammates, and The Idaho Statesman reports (http://bit.ly/HvBFZi ) Walker intends to make a formal announcement this week.
As the regular season of the NBA Developmental League came to a close last night, so did the basketball career of former NBA Champion Antoine Walker.
According to FoxSports.com, after his Idaho Stampede came away with a victory in their season finale, the 35-year-old forward disclosed to his teammates his intentions to officially call it quits. In his final professional game, Walker posted six points and four assists in 20 minutes of action.
Plagued by weight issues and legal troubles after making his final NBA appearance in 2008, the former star announced a comeback effort in May 2010. After months of preparation, he signed with the Stampede on December 7. In two seasons with the developmental team, the twelve-year NBA veteran averaged nearly 13 points, six rebounds and three assists in a total of 87 games.
Over his NBA career, the big man appeared in three All-Star Games and put up a total of 15,647 points and close to 5,000 rebounds in 893 games with five different teams. Best known as a member of the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, he won an NBA Championship with the latter in 2006. Walker is also a former college stand-out, starting for the 1996 NCAA National Champion Kentucky Wildcats
As aforementioned, his career accolades have been overshadowed by a very-public bankruptcy case, gambling debts and repeated concerns in respect to his motivation. Such complications ultimately halted his admirable, yet unsuccessful campaign to make a return to the NBA.
While the Idaho Stampede has confirmed his locker room announcement, Walker is expected to make a formal statement in the next few days.
Despite his obvious issues on and off the court, Walker, the sixth overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, should be remembered for his impressive skill set, pairing a superb post game with long-range scoring ability and noted accomplishments. While many analysts may argue he failed to achieve the long-term success, which he was most certainly capable. Walker is unarguably an All-Star and a Champion.
Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com
The term “waived” has a different meaning or connotation when it comes to it’s use in the NBA Development League. Around the sporting landscape a player who is “waived” is essentially understood by fans that the player has been cut, at least that seems to be the common perception if you read fan’s reactions on Twitter and message boards. You learn to hate the word “cut” at an early age in sports, and some sooner than others i.e. Myself. Anyone who has had to hear those words from a coach’s mouth can probably remember the conversation word for word, and perhaps every particular detail of that entire day. Getting cut simply meant that you didn’t have what the coach was looking for, or you flat out couldn’t perform at the level of the other players on the court. However, being “waived” and being “cut” are completely different things especially when it comes to the D-League.
Recently, Antoine Walker made Twitter headlines when it became known that the Idaho Stampede had “waived” Walker. After the news had been retweeted and spread across the Twitter landscape, Walker responded with a tweet essentially explaining his situation a bit more in depth. The reason Walker even had to say anything at all, is because being “waived” in the D-League does not carry the same weight as it does other sports. So in an effort to help clear the air on this confusing term that is used almost daily by D-League squads around the league, here is a quick guide you can reference next time you read (insert former NBA player name here) is being “waived” by a certain D-League team.
According to a league source, there are essentially three ways a player can be “waived” in the D-League. There is “waived due to personal reasons”, “waived due to injury”, and “waived”. It is common for team’s to waive a player due to personal reasons. This gives the team a built in reason for the waiving i.e. family reasons or personal matters. By waiving a player due to personal reasons, the team is allowed to keep the player’s rights, so it basically equates to a person taking a personal day from the office.
When a player is “waived due to injury”, this mandates a player cannot play for a certain amount of games, but the team still is able to keep the player’s rights. Pretty self-explanatory, but again a common way a player gets “waived” in the D-League that perhaps can be misconstrued.
Finally, when a team decides to “waive” a player the team is ending their ties with the player, and allowing the player to hit the player pool queue. Team’s who sit in front of the player pool line have first dibs based on an order decided from the draft order in the start of the year. To dive into that, would be like explaining an Italian bottle of wine’s front label…let’s just let it be, shall we? Anyhow, being flat out “waived” is probably the closest equivalent to what is used in the other major sport leagues…to borrow a phrase from Donald Trump, “You’re fired!”
Hopefully this will help provide a little more guidance to an admittedly complicated issue and next time a player is deemed “waived” nobody is quick to write an obituary for the player’s career.
MIAMI The list of owners of Miami Heat player championship rings includes Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem and now Andres Garcia.
TMZ reported that Antoine Walker, who has lost all of the 100 million-plus he made during a 12-year NBA career and gone into bankruptcy, has been forced to sell his 2006 Heat title ring to that man named Garcia for 21,500.
I think its worth more than that, personally, Wade said.
In interviews with FOX Sports Florida, Wade and Haslem, the only two players still on the Heat from 2006, were saddened it has gotten so bad for Walker that a championship ring is now in the hands of someone who had nothing to do with Miamis dramatic 4-2 Finals win against Dallas.
I know how hard we worked for that ring and how much it means to all of us. It’s very unfortunate,” said Wade, who read the news Monday about the sale. “But (Walker) has to do what he has to do for his family.
I know how much that ring means to him and I know how hard he worked for that. And its really unfortunate that hes in that situation. But, at the same time, you got to do what you got to do to get where you can get back to. Hopefully, everything hes doing, hes able to recoup and get his way back.
Its been well publicized how Walker, a forward who averaged 12.2 points for the 2005-06 Heat and 8.5 for them in 2006-07, has run up debts due to gambling losses. Haslem at least believes what Walker has gone through could serve as a warning to other NBA players.
Its unfortunate, Haslem said about it reaching the point that Walker was forced to sell his ring. Antoine is a friend of mine, and I hate to hear stuff like that. You also can learn something from it. You can look at it and realize that this life (as an NBA player) doesnt last forever, this lifestyle is not going to last forever. And, at the end of the day, were going to have to all retire one day and hopefully live off the finances weve been able to save. (Walkers situation is) sad, but you also try to learn from it.
Walker, who averaged 17.5 points with five teams from 1996-2008 and played in three All-Star Games representing Boston, is now with the Idaho Stampede of the Development League, making 25,000 while trying to get back to the NBA. Walker, 35, recently was profiled by Sports Illustrated.
Haslem saw Walker as recently as last summer. But the two didnt talk about his money problems.
No, we talk about the good stuff, good times, Haslem said.
Wade, like Walker a Chicago native, also has seen Walker recently. And the conservations also are positive, namely about Miamis title run.
I just see him here and there, Wade said. We won a championship together, we were teammates. We talk about the good memories.
The memories from 2006 are at least still there for Walker even if the ring isnt.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson
The obviously undersized point guard David Bailey, is coming off one of his best outings on the season for the Idaho Stampede against the Dakota Wizards Monday night, dropping 22 points and dishing out 5 assists while adding 3 steals. The 5-foot-8-inch, 165 pound Bailey doesn’t immediately strike you as an NBA body, yet his on the court skills and capabilities could benefit an NBA squad looking to add experienced depth at the position. Bailey is currently running point for the Stampede and playing for his former teammate Randy Livingston, the two played together for the same team in the 2003-04 season when Idaho was a CBA team. In the last three games for the Stampede, Bailey has posted solid numbers and further proves that success in the D-League starts with a talented, and savvy point guard.
Looking at the current standings in the D-League the top 4 teams in the league boast excellent play from the point guard position. Some may argue the D-League is stacked at the guard position, but having a floor general who has played in 170 plus D-League games in addition to numerous international stints carries added value. The Stampede at the moment are a far reach from the top 4 teams, but from recent trips to CenturyLink arena it is difficult to look past the leadership qualities that Bailey exudes while on the court. Bailey doesn’t ever look to completely take over games, but when needed, he is always there to add his D-League veteran skills when the Stampede need him to.
In a league where “development” is the overriding mantra having a player like Bailey is invaluable for a squad. Bailey has never been at the center of the basketball spotlight, but his on the court experience is what makes him such a unique addition especially to a D-League roster. Bailey enjoyed a large amount of success for the Loyola Ramblers achieving Horizon League scoring and assist champion honors, while also being selected to the Horizon League All-Tournament team. Bailey went undrafted out of college, but since 2003 has been able to make a career out of playing basketball albeit never at the NBA level.
Since joining Livingston and the Idaho Stampede, Bailey has accomplished what he set out to do for the club, distributing the ball and supplying Coach Livingston with a coach on the floor. Bailey is averaging 6.0 assists a game to go with slightly under 10 points per contest. While most of the attention is directed towards the next potential “call-up” in the D-League, a player like Bailey can easily go unnoticed, but if you were to ask any of Bailey’s teammates about his value going unnoticed they would surely tell you otherwise.
The D-Fenders will come out of the All-Star break with their 9-game win streak still intact, however, their roster will be lacking a significant piece(s). (Note: while writing this article news had just broke that the Lakers had recalled Devin Ebanks, thus hurrying me into adding his story to my original idea for this post…classic D-League!) After his dominating performance in Orlando, Gerald Green received MVP honors and another chance to play in the NBA and deservedly so. The D-Fenders will also be without Devin Ebanks who was on assignment from the Lakers, and in his 3-game stint averaged 18.3 points and 6 rebounds helping the D’s win all three games in which he saw time in. Green and Ebanks absence leaves the D-Fenders with an interesting roster heading into their second half opening 2-game set with the Idaho Stampede in Boise. The question now being, can the D-Fenders continue their first half success in the second part of the season?
Considering the crazy revolving door that is a D-League roster, it is impossible to say exactly what the physical roster sheet will read for Eric Musselman and the D’s in the second half, but losing Green and Ebanks will create a few hurdles as they try to hold onto the top spot in the D-League power rankings. Even without Green and Ebanks the D’s roster is not nearly as bad as a few other teams currently in the D-League. Courtney Fortson who already spent time in the Association with the Clippers will still run the point effectively and continue to guide the offense for Musselman’s D-Fenders. The team also can find comfort in having a top prospect Elijah Millsap now handling most of the scoring duties. Both of these players could see call-ups themselves, which would totally screw this article up!
The Skip 2 My Lou factor…Rafer Alston has played limited minutes for the D-Fenders, but Musselman seems to be doing something right in El Segundo whereas the D-Fenders have enjoyed a good fortune this season in call-ups. Nothing at the moment would prove for this to be true any time soon for Alston, but leave it to the great coaching ability of Musselman and the current timing for Alston to perhaps rediscover his game and help contribute to a D-Fenders postseason run.
At any rate, the once dominating fashion that the D-Fenders handled their opponents with in the first half of the season may be harder to come by in the second half. Well, quite frankly it will be, and with these 3 teams (Iowa, Austin, and red hot Springfield) closely tracking the D’s in the standings, E-Muss and his squad will have their work cut out for them.