And-Ones: Amerileague, Fredette, Draft, Coaches

The viability of the Amerileague plunged further into question Wednesday as a former spokesperson for the league revealed to freelance journalist Erin Ashley Simon that the league’s CEO was using a fictitious name and is actually Glendon Alexander, a former McDonald’s All-American with multiple fraud convictions. Amerileague operations manager Marcus Bass confirmed the news to Jeff Goodman and Paula Lavigne of ESPN’s Outside the Lines. Alexander has resigned as CEO, reports Adam Johnson of D-League Digest (Twitter link), ending a trail of suspicion about his involvement that Kami Mattioli of The Sporting News first detailed in May. Henry Walker recently became the first player who appeared in the NBA during the 2014/15 season to sign with the Amerileague, but Walker’s agent, Mike Naiditch, tells Hoops Rumors that, “If there was never a league, then [there] was never a deal.” 

The Amerileague draft was to take place today, but Bass tells Johnson that the event is on hold (Twitter link). See more from around basketball:

  • An unwillingness to adjust his freewheeling college game to the NBA style of play led to Jimmer Fredette‘s lack of success in the league, one of his former NBA assistant asserts to Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports. The Spurs waived Fredette on Wednesday, though four other NBA teams still reportedly have some level of interest in him.
  • Vanderbilt junior center/forward Damian Jones says he plans to enter the 2016 draft, as Adam Sparks of The Tennessean relays. Chad Ford of ranks the 6’10” Jones as the 14th-best draft prospect, while Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress has him at No. 16.
  • Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson, Magic assistant Adrian Griffin and Pelicans assistant Darren Erman are future head coaching candidates to watch, according to Chris Mannix of SI.comHeat assistant David Fizdale draws an honorable mention on Mannix’s list.

And-Ones: Popovich, Stephenson, Schröder

NBA coaches would like to see one of their own succeed Mike Krzyzewski as Team USA coach after he steps away following the 2016 Olympics, and Gregg Popovich is the No. 1 choice for that gig, a coaching source tells Ken Berger of Rick Carlisle appears to have a shot, too, and University of Kentucky coach John Calipari has a strong desire for the job, Berger also hears. See more from around basketball:

  • Lance Stephenson first targeted his hometown Nets when he found out the Hornets were exploring the idea of trading him last season, but he’s excited about his opportunity with the Clippers, as he tells Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.
  • Dennis Schröder‘s rookie scale contract runs through 2016/17, and he likes playing in Atlanta, but he tells Sport Bild magazine that he wants to start and will look elsewhere if the Hawks don’t give him an opportunity, as relays (hat tip to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia, and special thanks to Alan Maimon for the translation). “My goal is the starting job,” Schröder said. “If there’s no progress next season, then I’ll have to talk to my people and explore other possibilities.”
  • Players on NBA rosters last season have begun receiving checks related to a leaguewide salary shortfall, reports Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. The NBA is obligated to distribute $57,298,826, the difference between total team salaries and the 50.39% of basketball-related income that the collective bargaining agreement mandates the players are entitled to. So, players who were on a team’s active or inactive list for 41 or more games get $124,023, while those on one of those lists for 20-40 games see $62,011, and players on one of those lists for one to 19 games receive $31,005, as Zillgitt details.
  • Amerileague president Jonathan Jordan has resigned and some agents have their expressed their doubts about the viability of the startup minor league, as Adam Johnson of D-League Digest details in a pair of pieces. Marcus Bass, the league’s director of basketball operations, tells Johnson that concerns are “getting a little overblown,” pledged to maintain a consistent flow of information, and said the league’s draft will go forward as planned Thursday.

Henry Walker Signs With Amerileague

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.