After signing with the D-League earlier this week, Rafer Alston has joined the Los Angeles D-Fenders. Alston's name will be familiar to fans of the Bucks, Heat, Raptors, Rockets, Magic, and Nets — the 35-year-old spent time on the floor for each of those teams during his 11-year NBA career. However, "Skip to My Lou" hasn't logged NBA minutes since the 2009/10 season, and signed with the D-League hoping to make it back to the Association.
For a league whose ostensible goal is to develop young talent, the D-League is becoming increasingly populated with former NBA players hoping to play their way to another shot at NBA minutes. Let's check out a few of the notable veterans currently on D-League rosters:
- Marcus Banks (Idaho Stampede): The 6'2" guard was selected 13th overall in 2003 and played 348 games for the Celtics, Timberwolves, Suns, Heat, and Raptors. He just signed with the D-League last week.
- Devin Brown (Erie BayHawks): Never more than a part-time NBA player, Brown's best season came in 2006/07 when he averaged 11.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 28.7 minutes per game for the Hornets. He was waived by his European team earlier this year for reportedly arriving out of shape.
- Antonio Daniels (Texas Legends): The former fourth overall pick appeared in four games last season for the Sixers on a 10-day contract, but otherwise hasn't played in the NBA since 2008/09. He performed well for the Legends last year (14.5 PPG, 8.6 APG) and is playing for them once again this season.
- Gerald Green (Los Angeles D-Fenders): Green, the former Celtic, was drafted out of high school in 2005. He's long been considered a first-round bust, but he's still only 26 years old, and he's been on fire for the D-Fenders lately, averaging 24.4 points on 52.2% shooting in his last five contests. I'd be surprised if Green didn't spend some time on an NBA roster before the end of the season.
- Damon Jones (Reno Bighorns): Jones only stuck with an NBA team for longer than year once, when he played three consecutive seasons in Cleveland. The journeyman was a part of ten teams in 11 seasons, but his NBA career is likely over. He hasn't been productive in limited minutes in the D-League.
- Mikki Moore (Idaho Stampede): A 12-year veteran, the 36-year-old center joined the Stampede earlier this month. He's putting up solid rebounding numbers in the playing time he's received so far.
- Bobby Simmons (Reno Bighorns): Coming off a 2004/05 season in which he averaged 16.4 PPG and 5.9 RPG for the Clippers, Simmons inked a five-year, $47MM pact with the Bucks. His subsequent production steadily dropped off until he found himself out of the league last year. Still, he's only 31 and has shot well in Reno — he could get another crack at the NBA later this season.
- Antoine Walker (Idaho Stampede): A teammate of Banks and Moore, Walker is playing his second season in Idaho. While he had the best NBA career of anyone else on this list, scoring over 15,000 points and earning over $100MM, the 35-year-old hasn't played in an NBA game since 2008. The numbers he's putting up for the Stampede this year, including a .367 FG%, aren't about to earn him another shot either.
- A few more ex-NBAers who signed with the D-League this season, but are no longer in the league: Ricky Davis, Luther Head, Mike James, and Greg Ostertag (really!)