Five-year NBA veteran Henry Walker has signed with the Amerileague, the league announced (hat tip to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders). It’s a milestone of sorts for the six-team startup minor league, as Walker is the first of its signees who saw regular season action in the NBA last season. Walker, Josh Selby, Terrence Williams, Dajuan Wagner, Royce White, David Harrison and Antoine Wright are among those with NBA experience in the more distant past to join the Amerileague, Kennedy notes (Twitter link). Walker, who turned 28 last week, started 13 times in his 24-game stint with the Heat last season.
Walker joined Miami on a pair of 10-day contracts that led to a deal for the rest of the season with a non-guaranteed 2015/16 included. It was his first time back in the NBA since 2011/12, and the Mike Naiditch client made the most of it, as his 26.2 minutes per game for the Heat were a career high. Miami nonetheless released him in July, but Sam Amico reported soon after for Hoops Rumors that the Blazers had interest in the swingman.
The Amerileague is reportedly handing out salaries worth up to as much as $50K per month, about twice what the most well-compensated D-League players make. It’s not immediately clear if Walker will see that sort of money, but those salaries make the Amerileague more competitive with European teams. That helps explain why veterans like Walker are joining. The D-League has instead largely been the purview of younger, less-experienced players willing to sacrifice money for a chance to play with NBA-affiliated organizations.
Do you think the Amerileague will last for the long term as a legitimate minor league? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.