Sunday, December 5, 2010

Antoine Walker Signs With D-League, Set to Join Idaho Stampede

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Antoine Walker, a 12-year NBA veteran and three-time NBA All-Star, has cleared the standard NBA Development League background check and was placed on waivers Friday, according to a league source, clearing the way for him to join the D-League's Idaho Stampede when he clears waivers Tuesday afternoon.

The Idaho Stampede, the only winless team in the D-League with an 0-4 record, are expected to use their top choice in the waiver claim preference order to claim Walker, which they received after having the last pick in November's D-League Draft.

Walker's expected signing with the D-League was first reported by FanHouse Sunday, though his contract only now becomes official.

Walker averaged 17.5 points and 7.7 rebounds over the course of his NBA career that began after becoming the sixth overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, but he wasn't able to earn an NBA training camp invite with the Charlotte Bobcats earlier this year after showing up to practice with them in September.

While it isn't surprising that Walker wasn't able to earn a training camp invite amid their glut of tweener forwards, ESPN's Marc Stein reported at the time that Walker was in very good shape, that multiple witnesses who had seen Walker playing and working out with famed trainer Tim Grover in Chicago said "that Walker looks as fit as he has for some time."

Walker will have plenty of company in former NBA players trying to get back to the NBA through the D-League with the Stampede. Luke Jackson, the 10th overall pick in the 2004 draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers will man one wing while Salim Stoudamire, the 31st pick of the 2005 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks, will be on the other wing. Point guard Dontell Jefferson, who was recently acquired via trade, spent the end of the 2008-09 season with the Charlotte Bobcats.


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