When the Maine Red Claws went through the transformation from an idea in the mind of former Celtics assistant coach Jon Jennings to an actual professional basketball team, one of the first orders of business was to find an NBA parent club. The Red Claws found two suitors in the Boston Celtics and the Charlotte Bobcats.
At the beginning of their third season, the Red Claws added the Philadelphia 76ers to their NBA stable. This partnership lasted one season, before the Boston Celtics entered into a one-to-one hybrid affiliation upon the completion of the Red Claws partnership with the 76ers and Bobcats.
The reason NBA team partners with an NBADL squad is to develop young prospect that need some extra playing time to work on an area of his game, but doesn’t have an opportunity to work that player into the line-up. These players are assigned to their NBA team’s Development League affiliate to improve those areas of their game.
The Red Claws have received 14 assignment players from their NBA affiliates over their five seasons. The longest assignment was 33 games. The shortest was just short of two hours. Below are highlights from each of the Red Claws assignment players.
Vander Blue: Blue was signed to a 10-day contract by the Celtics on 1/22/14. On the last day of the 10-day contract, the Celtics assigned Blue to the Red Claws. Maine’s opponent that night were the Delaware 87ers, the team that Blue had played for when the Celtics signed him. After scoring 13 points and handing out four assists in the contest, Blue rejoined the 87ers as they left the Expo, as the Celtics did not renew his contract. The Red Claws were one of eight teams that Blue played for this season, including the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies summer league teams, the 76ers in the preseason, the Celtics during the NBA regular season, Maccabi Rishon LeZion of the Israeli Super League, the Red Claws, 87ers and Idaho Stampede in the Development League. He finished the 2013-14 season with the Stampede.
Vitor Faverani: Faverani is the second Brazilian center in as many years to be assigned to the Red Claws from the Celtics. In four games with the Red Claws, Faverani averaged 19 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. Faverani began the season as a key player with the Celtics, but saw his minutes decline as the season progressed. He enjoyed his time with the Red Claws, and played with enthusiasm, hustling for loose balls and working hard to get his teammates involved. He suffered a season-ending knee injury in a contest against the 87ers on 2/4/14 while on assignment with the Red Claws.
Rajon Rondo: Probably the biggest NBA star to ever be assigned to the NBADL, Rondo spent one hour and 53 minutes as a member of the Maine squad. Assigned on 1/15/14, Rondo’s assignment didn’t see the all-star guard travel to Portland. Instead, the Red Claws, returning from a five game road trip to the west coast, joined Rondo at the Celtics practice facility in Waltham, MA. While practicing, Rondo shared his knowledge of the NBA game with the D-League team while running full court scrimmages with the team in preparation for Rondo’s return from a 2/12/13 ACL surgery. Rondo returned to the Celtics lineup two days later against the Los Angeles Lakers.
MarShon Brooks: Brooks has had an interesting basketball career thus far. Originally drafted by the Celtics, Brooks was traded to the Brooklyn Nets on draft day. Coming back to the Celtics in the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade, Brooks was assigned to the Red Claws on January 1st. After playing with the Red Claws for five games, averaging 27.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks, Brooks was recalled, then traded to the Golden State Warriors. While with Golden State, he was assigned to the Santa Cruz Warriors. Just over a month after the Warriors trade, he was traded again, to the LA Lakers, where he finished the season. Brooks then played with the Sacramento Kings summer league team before signing with Emporio Armani Milano of the Italian league.
Craig Brackins: The only Red Claws assignment player from their affiliation with the 76ers, Brackins played in seven games, averaging 18.9 points and 9.8 rebounds. After being recalled on 3/2/12, Brackins finished the season with the 76ers. He signed with the Celtics for summer league, and then headed overseas to play with Angelico Biella of the Italian league. He rejoined the NBADL in 2013, signing with the LA Defenders. In June of 2013, Brackins signed with Stelmet Zielona Góra in Poland.
Avery Bradley: Assigned to the Red Claws by the Celtics on 1/14/11, Bradley made an immediate impact, posting averages of 17.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 3.0 steals. Bradley set an NBADL record with nine steals on 1/30/11 against the Tulsa 66ers, a record that still stands. Since being recalled, Bradley has been a mainstay in the Celtics lineup, averaging 9.2 points and 2.3 rebounds over 205 games played to compliment his lock down defense.
Marcus Landry: Assigned by the Celtics on 3/6/10, Landry averaged 11.4 points and 4.3 rebounds in 13 games in Portland. After finishing the 2009-10 season with the Celtics, Landry was acquired by the Sacramento Kings, but did not appear in any games. He later signed with the Kings’ D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns where he played the entire 2010-11 seasons. After playing for squads in Puerto Rico, Spain, China and Venezuela, Landry returned to the Bighorns for the 2012-13 season before returning to Spain for the 2013-14 season.
Sherron Collins: Assigned by the Bobcats on 12/9/10, Collins averaged 12 points, 3 assists and 1 steal over five games with the Red Claws before being recalled on 12/21/10. After the 2010-11 season, Collins signed in Ankara, Turkey with Hacettepe Üniversitesi Basketbol Kulübü. After missing the 2012-13 season, Collins was acquired by the Texas Legends on 4/3/14.
J.R. Giddens: The Celtics assigned J.R. Giddens on 1/22/10 for four games, where he posted averages of 18 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal before being recalled on 1/29/10. Giddens was traded from the Celtics to the New York Knicks on 2/18/10. After the 2009-10 season ended, Giddens signed with Asseco Prokom Gdynia in Poland, opting out of the contract in December, 2010. He then played for teams in Greece and Italy before signing with Vaqueros de Bayamón of Puerto Rico in June of 2014.
Lester Hudson: Assigned on 12/15/09 and again on 12/26/09 for a combined five games over nine days, Hudson averaged 14.6 points and 4.8 rebounds for the Red Claws. His career led him to split time between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Dakota Wizards of the D-League in 2010 after his release from the Celtics. He would play the 2010-11 season with the Washington Wizards before heading to China at the end of 2011. After the 2011-12 season ended in China, Hudson returned to the D-League, signing with the Austin Toros. After playing consecutive 10-day contracts with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Hudson resigned with the Grizzlies for the remainder of 2012. He played the 2012-13 season in China before returning to the Toros to conclude the 2013 season. Currently, Hudson is under contract with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese league.
Alexis Ajinca: The first player assigned to the Red Claws by the Bobcats, Ajinca averaged 14.6 points and 7.5 rebounds over 22 games in Maine. After being recalled on nourg for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 season. He began the 2013-14 season with Strasbourg before asking for his release on 12/13/13. One week later, he signed with the New Orleans Pelicans for the 2013-14 NBA season.
Bill Walker: The first player ever assigned to the Red Claws, the Celtics sent Walker to join the Maine squad for their first game in franchise history. Averaging 17.4 and 6.4 rebounds over nine games before the Celtics recalled him on 12/23/09. on 2/18/10, Walker was included with Giddens in a trade to the Knicks. He remained with the Knicks until the end of the 2011-12 season. Sitting out the 2012-13 season, Walker was acquired by the Sioux Falls Skyforce at the end of the season. After playing the 2013 summer season in Venezuela, Walker suited up for the Skyforce in 2013. Walker, who opted to go by his middle name Henry, played in three games against the Red Claws this past season, and added to some controversial moments. On 12/20/13, with the Skyforce leading 90-88 late, Walker scored a jump shot as the shot clock expired. A replay showed that the shot had not been released before the 24 second clock expired, but due to the limited instant replay rules of the league, the play could not be reviewed. On 3/30/14, Walker was again the center of negative attention as he earned two quick technical fouls. On his way to the locker room, Walker confronted and spat at a Red Claws player on the bench.