Turkish Team Signs D-League Standout Oliver Lafayette to Replace Allen Iverson
It's pretty typical that D-League players leave around this time of year in pursuit of bigger paychecks in Europe, but this might mark the first time that said player is replacing an eventual Hall of Famer in the lineup.
Iverson, a 14-year NBA veteran and MVP of the 2000-01 season, was averaging 12.8 points and 4.2 assists while shooting just 40 percent from the field in 10 games for the Turkish team. He played his last game on Jan. 8 and has since been sitting out due to a calcium deposit on his right calf.
"(Iverson) will not be able to return to professional basketball for some six to eight weeks or more this season,'' Dr. James Andrews said in a statement sent to FanHouse by Iverson's manager, Gary Moore. "At this point, it is certainly more important to get his calf healed and asymptomatic than it is to try to play with continued pain. We anticipate a full recovery and certainly anticipate him being able to resume a normal basketball career.''
With Iverson out, the club has brought in Fort Wayne Mad Ants guard -- and former Boston Celtics call-up -- Lafayette to fill his role on the team. Lafayette's D-League buyout will be $45,000.
Lafayette, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Houston, was averaging 16.4 points on 39 percent shooting with the Mad Ants this season since returning from a failed stint in Serbia to begin the season. This was his third season in the D-League.
It will be interesting to see if Lafayette is able to give Besiktas what it was looking for as it previously was rejected by current Phoenix Suns guard Zabian Dowdell and fellow D-League call-up Sundiata Gaines before giving the former Houston Cougar the opportunity. Lafayette's shown to be a solid, albeit sometimes inefficient, scorer in the D-League and steadily improved on the defensive end of the court during his time in the NBA Development League.
Lafayette is expected to officially join Besiktas on Thursday when he arrives in Turkey to sign his contract.