Former Austin Spurs Sign Contracts Overseas
By John Vasington
There will be a new look Austin Spurs in 2016-2017. D-League Digest has already announced that six players who finished the season with the Austin Spurs last year have signed new contracts with teams overseas.
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The list of players who will no longer be on the team includes Brandon Fields, Cady Lalanne, Youssou Ndoye, Kiefer Sykes, Deshaun Thomas and Julian Washburn.
Fields joined the Austin Spurs last season after playing a majority of the D-League season with the now defunct Idaho Stampede. While with the Spurs, he started only four games and scored an average of 11.7 points per game. He signed a contract with Pesaro of the Italian Serie A league for next season.
Lalanne was one of the better players on the Austin Spurs last season. He scored 13.3 points per game while grabbing 7.6 rebounds. A UMass product, Lalanne was selected by the Spurs in the second round of 2015 NBA Draft. Lalanne signed in the Chinese CBA with Zhejiang Chouzhou.
Ndoye was also a mainstay for Austin last year. He played in 49 games and started 14 while scoring 7.9 points and pulling in seven rebounds each game. He has signed with a second tier team in France, committing to Bourg of French Pro B.
A mid-major legend and strong contributor in the D-League, Sykes, also decided to sign overseas. He chose to continue his career with Anyang KGC of the South Korean KBL. In his first season in the D-League last year Sykes scored 12.4 points per game and added over three rebounds and assists.
Perhaps the biggest signing for a former Spur this offseason was Thomas. He is going to Anadolu Efes of the Turkish BSL, one of the premier European leagues. Thomas showed a lot of promise last season with the Austin Spurs, scoring almost 15 points per game with 6.2 rebounds. Thomas spent what would have been his senior year at Ohio State in the D-League last year, so he likely felt it was time to get his pay day when he made the move overseas.
Washburn played only sparingly last year with the Austin Spurs. He averaged less than 20 minutes per game. He will be taking his talents to the Walter Tigers of the German BBL.
Those are only the contracts former Austin Spurs have currently signed, so that list could stand to grow in the near future. Prospects with a NBA dream consistently must make the difficult choice of either playing domestically for less money but a better change at NBA opportunities, or getting paid more to play overseas.
These six players have decided the opportunities are better for them overseas, and while this will not end their chances at the NBA, the decision to play overseas often leads to players falling off of NBA radars.
As for the future of the Austin Spurs, with the D-League expansion draft rapidly approaching each 2015-2016 team will need to choose 10 players they would like to retain on their team to protect from the new teams entering the league.
Following the expansion draft, the 22 teams in the league will draft incoming players to see who each team will add. This draft is rumored to be scheduled in October.