Adonis Thomas, Lorenzo Brown returning to Armor

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets thought they had lost the rights to two young D-League players, but both will return to the Armor this week after being cut by NBA teams.

Back in October, the Nets thought they had two NBA prospects lined up for their D-League affiliate in Springfield, the equivalent of second round picks in last June's draft.

Lorenzo Brown, a 6'5" point guard out of North Carolina State, had been drafted by Minnesota --ironically with the Nets' second round pick sent to Minny in 2011. He was cut by the Timberwolves late in camp and at his request, his D-League rights were traded by the T-Wolves D-League affiliate to the Armor.

Adonis Thomas, a 6'7" small forward out of Memphis, had gone undrafted and then was cut by the Hawks in training camp. The Nets signed him later in camp so he could be cut again then sent down to the Armor. The D-League rights of the last three players cut by an NBA team in preseason automatically transfer to the NBA club's affiliate.

Despite the Nets'  efforts to acquire the two players' D-League rights, both were called up by other NBA teams. As non-roster players, the Nets had no claim on their NBA rights. Brown in fact never played for Springfield. The Sixers grabbed him before the D-League season began. The 20-year-old Thomas, considered a top 10 high school recruit just two years ago, made dramatic strides during the D-League season and was called up by the Magic three weeks ago on a 10-day deal. In February, just before he was called up, Thomas averaged 22.6 points over eight games, shooting 48 percent from three. He also grabbed 5.9 rebounds and handed out 2.4 assists per game.

Now both are headed back to the Armor. Brown was cut last week by Philly to make room, ironically enough, for Darius Johnson-Odom, the guard who replaced him in Springfield. Brown has been hurt the last month. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Magic officials have decided they won't sign Thomas for the remainder of the season. So, he too will return to the Armor. D-League teams retain a player's rights for two years. Brown averaged 2.5 points and 1.6 assists in 26 games for Philly. Thomas averaged 1.8 points in four games for Orlando during his two 10-days deals.

Although the two were cut by the 76ers and Magic, among the league's worst teams, the Nets still think both are NBA prospects. The Nets still won't hold their NBA rights --and it's possible another NBA team could call them up. If not, Brooklyn could recruit them to join the team's summer league team or training camp.  The Nets also need to make a decision Sunday on keeping Jorge Gutierrez around for another 10 days. If he is released, he would return to the Canton Charge in the D-League.

The Armor can use all the help they can get.  Springfield (18-24), ended a four-game road swing Saturday night with a 124-109 loss to the Sioux Falls Skyforce (25-18) at the Sanford Pentagon in South Dakota. They have only an outside chance of making the playoffs.

Springfield trailed by eight in the early going, but the Armor rallied around Khalif Wyatt and Larry Anderson as the backcourt duo combined for 17 points over the final six minutes to help the visitors to a 37-30 edge after one period of play.

Sioux Falls fought back quickly in the second, retaking the lead four minutes in after falling behind by as many as nine. From that point, neither team took more than a six-point advantage the rest of the half. Sioux Falls led 57-51 with just 1:37 remaining but the Armor hit a barrage of late 3-pointers, three within 32 seconds, to take a 62-61 edge into the locker room.

Wyatt tallied a game-high 19 points through the first two quarters, hitting 3-of-5 attempts from beyond the arc to captain the Armor's late run.

The burst before the half did not carry over into the third for Springfield as the Skyforce limited the Armor to just 19 points in the frame, while the home team put up 32 to grab a 93-81 cushion entering the fourth. Sioux Falls hit 59 percent of its shots in the third, holding Springfield to just a 30 percent clip from the field and forcing seven Armor turnovers.

Sioux Falls continued its momentum into the fourth, opening up a 20-point lead before salting the game away for a 124-109 victory. Skyforce forward Henry Walker led the way in the final frame with 13 points including a 3-of-5 effort from long distance as Sioux Falls completed the season sweep of the Armor.

Wyatt ended his night with a career-high 30 points, while Anderson logged a double-double with 24 points and 13 boards. Springfield's bench accounted for just 13 points on the night, shooting a combined 4-for-20 from the field. Walker finished with 27 for the Skyforce, hitting 5-of-8 attempts from beyond the arc as the only member of Sioux Falls' lineup to score 20 or more points, although the Skyforce had seven players in double figures.

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