The NBA has always liked the D-League as a business proposition, but this season may be the first time the circuit has served as a true minor-league and development feeder, as Rashad McCants, Antonio Daniels and Antoine Walker are poised to spend time with D-League teams as a path back to the NBA.
Using the D-League as a path to the NBA for older players has never been tried much; the pay is usually too low to attract the attention of someone like a McCants, who usually headed for Europe for a year to reestablish some court cred. Instead, McCants has already reported to the Texas Stars and will practice today. McCants, a former lottery pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves, will join Daniels (already playing in Frisco) in the Stars backcourt.
Meanwhile, Walker is expected to sign a D-League contract today as well. The 34-year-old Walker failed to secure a training-camp spot with the Charlotte Bobcats after a tryout, but he still may have some gas left in the tank, assuming he can stay in shape and maintain a focus on the game.
Using the D-League as a tool for veterans to work back into shape and position themselves for an NBA spot makes business sense: it brings some big names to smaller arenas, giving teams something to market.
Sign up for the free weekly Arena Digest newsletter and keep up with the latest happenings! You can sign up here.