Mustafa Shakur Traded for Robert Vaden
Despite being the 66ers' on-court leader last season, however, Tulsa has decided to trade Shakur to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers for the seventh overall pick in Monday night's D-League Draft -- a pick that became sweet-shooting Robert Vaden -- according to a source with knowledge of the trade.
Both the 66ers, owned by the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Vipers, whose basketball operations are headed by the Houston Rockets, had ulterior motives to make the deal which pertain more to their NBA affiliates than the actual D-League squads put on the court.
Vaden, the 54th overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Bobcats, was acquired in a draft-day deal by the Thunder in return for "cash considerations." Since Vaden's yet to sign an NBA contract, even though he's played the previous two NBA Summer Leagues with the Thunder, his rights are owned by the Thunder until they either relinquish them or trade them. In layman's terms, this means no NBA team other than the Thunder can call Vaden up which makes it quite clear why the Thunder would give such a valuable player up to acquire him.
As far as trading for Mustafa Shakur, the Houston Rockets have continued with their philosophy of bringing in as many NBA-caliber players to the Vipers as possible, hoping to get a better look at them running their system as well as developing players in case of an injury. It doesn't hurt, though, that the Vipers had a gaping hole at point guard to fill because last year's All-Star point guard, Will Conroy, didn't return.
The Thunder were also able to get a more than solid player with their first round pick to replace Shakur at the point by drafting Scottie Reynolds, a first-team All-American for Villanova last season.
It will be interesting, as the NBA D-League progresses into more of a true minor league, to see how many more trades are made that affect both the D-League and those team's NBA-affiliate rosters quite like this one will.