First Wave of Players Head Overseas Following D-League Showcase
Now that last week's D-League Showcase on South Padre Island is complete, however, some of the more talented players are deciding to take their talents overseas in hopes of greener pastures and larger paychecks since the most-scouted event in the D-League has wrapped up.
Already this week, Maine Red Claws wing Paul Harris and Reno Bighorns guard D.J. Strawberry (right) have bought out their D-League contracts -- a fee of $35,000 to $45,000 depending on the type of contract they signed -- to play for larger salaries in the Philippines and Lithuania, respectively.
While an NBA call-up was surely on both players' minds going into the season, the fact that both were relegated to sixth-man duty thus far in the D-League caused them to seek a steadier income. After all, during a season that's currently on pace for the least amount of call-ups all time, it'd be quite the feat to make the NBA after not even earning starter's minutes in the D-League.
This, actually, is why Harris decided to take the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters' offer to leave the D-League to play the rest of the season in the Philippine Basketball Association.
"I was playing a lot of minutes and I thought I was playing OK. Coach (Austin Ainge) said I wasn't playing any defense. That really hurt me," Harris told the Niagara Gazette. "My agent probably wouldn't have suggested going overseas if I was playing more minutes."
Harris was stuck behind former NBA player Mario West, known only for his defense, in Ainge's rotation which explains that sentiment, though Synergy Sports Technology also ranked Harris' defense as "below average." The 24-year-old Harris averaged 10.8 points and 6.9 rebounds in 22 games for the Red Claws this season.
Strawberry was also caught in a similar bind as he prefers to play the point guard position but has been stuck behind either Aaron Miles, the top point guard in the D-League until an unfortunate knee injury, or Golden State Warriors' assignee Jeremy Lin.
A former second-round pick, Strawberry averaged 13.9 points while making just 43 percent of his field-goal attempts in the D-League this season. Ironically, his last game was also his best as he scored 19 points and dished 10 assists in a 109-102 victory over the Texas Legends on Tuesday.
Harris and Strawberry, along with Alan Anderson earlier in the season, are the only possible call-up candidates to leave the D-League so far this year, but more moves are probably on the way as players decide their chances of an NBA call-up are diminishing as the season progresses.