Rodrigue Beaubois Assigned to Texas Legends for 'Marketing Support'
Except that Beaubois will not suit up for the Legends. Not tonight, not during however long this assignment might last. It's simply, as Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wrote in e-mail following the announcement, for "marketing support."
And that, basketball fans, is where the Legends get too gimmicky.
Some said that the first move the Legends made, the hiring of Nancy Lieberman, the first female head coach in the history of NBA-affiliated basketball, was a gimmick. After sitting down with Ms. Lieberman and realizing how knowledgeable she is, combined with what she's done thus far in her basketball career, I've learned first hand that she was a great hire -- not a gimmick.
Next, plenty took issue with the Frisco-based team when it decided to call itself the "Texas Legends." Not only because of the obvious irony of calling a team made up of D-League players "Legends," but also because there were already two other teams already established in Texas in the Austin Toros and Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Still, with five former first round NBA draft picks, if any D-League team is going to be called the Legends," this team probably deserves the moniker.
Some might call it a bit gimmicky to just keep compiling names NBA fans might be familiar with. But regardless of fit, as the Legends have in adding 35-year-old Antonio Daniels, NBA flameout Reece Gaines, off-court troublemaker Sean Williams and former lottery picks that couldn't stick in the NBA after their original guaranteed rookie contracts in Rashad McCants and Joe Alexander. It is the D-League, however, and the 'D' stands for development so the Legends get a pass from myself here as well.
This "assignment" of Beaubois, however, is where things get murky. It isn't quite as bad as the New Jersey Nets assignment earlier this week of Terrence Williams, but it sends an equally bad message from a league that already struggles to gain mainstream recognition. Since Beaubois isn't going to play, why couldn't the Mavericks and Legends just sent out a press release announcing to fans that it will be cheaper to watch Rodrigue Beaubois sit in a suit at the end of a D-League bench then it will be to see the same with the Legends? This would have achieved the same result, but without the unnecessary gimmickry that the D-League doesn't need.
In the end, it probably won't amount to being a big deal, but for a league where scrutiny happens all too often, the Mavericks could've handled this without making the D-League look more like a gimmick than the league where players are just one small step away from the NBA.