In a rare insight into how NBA teams deal with unsigned draft picks, Xavier Thames told a San Diego radio station Thursday that the Nets were crucial in first setting up his time with a team in the Spanish League, then bringing him back to play in the D-League for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the Nets nominal D-League affiliate.
Thames, a 6'4" combo guard out of San Diego State, was drafted 59th, just before Cory Jefferson. He played for the Nets summer league team but was never signed by the Nets. So they retain his draft rights.
Thames, the Mountain Western player of the year in 2014, noted that the Nets helped set him up with Sevilla in the Spanish League, but after disputes over playing time and coaching, he had his agent got in touch with the Nets about returning to the U.S. and the D-League. Sevilla also had financial issues.
"It was the assistant GM," he told 1090 AM in San Diego, when asked who arranged it all, not saying it was Bobby Marks or Frank Zanin, the Nets two assistant GM's. "My agent contacted him and he, the GM for the Spanish team and we kinda worked out an agreement. The Nets still own my rights because they drafted me.
"I can develop better here playing for Brooklyn's D-League team," he added. "The Brooklyn Nets organization decided the best thing for me would be to move on and play for their D-League team and develop here."
Although Thames doesn't start -- he backs up another former Nets draft pick, Jordan Crawford -- Thames says he's much happier in Fort Wayne than Sevilla, where he's average 7.3 points coming off the bench. "I finally got a chance to get up and play. I'm just trying to get better each and every day."
Billy King told a group of season ticket holders two weeks ago that Thames will play for the Nets summer league teams in Orlando and Las Vegas this July.
- Xavier Thames Interview (Audio) - Scott Kaplan & B.R. Smith - Mighty 1090 AM