NBA Signees With D-League Experience

The D-League is certainly not a basketball destination of riches, with the highest salaries in the league last season topping out at $26K, according to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress (Twitter link). Of course, some NBA players spend time on assignment in the D-League, and when they do, they receive their full NBA salaries. In most cases, a player on D-League assignment is making a rookie or minimum salary, and a D-League stint is usually a sign that the player isn’t performing well enough to earn NBA minutes. With NBA minutes comes NBA money, and spending time in the D-League doesn’t portend well for a player’s bank account.

Martell Webster is the exception. He appeared in eight games for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in 2005/06, on assignment from the Trail Blazers, who’d drafted him directly out of high school the previous summer. That D-League experience was a distant memory when he signed a four-year, $21.991MM deal with the Wizards for the full amount of the mid-level exception this past offseason. Matt Barnes is the only other player with D-League experience to have signed a seven-figure NBA contract this year.

Teams around the NBA have just recently begun to realize the potential of the D-League, and many are taking advantage of new rules that allow them to more liberally assign their players. Nearly half the teams in the NBA have a one-to-one affiliation with a D-League team, furthering the player development relationship. More lucrative contracts could find their way into the hands of D-League alums in the years ahead, but this year’s free agent crop shows no sign of that happening yet. Here’s every player with D-League experience to sign a free agent contract with an NBA team this offseason. Non-guaranteed contracts that cover just one season at the minimum salary — mere invitations to training camp — are not included.

The Hoops Rumors Free Agent Tracker was used in the creation of this post.

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