Dozens of players will attend training camps next month with hopes of making an NBA roster that will get crushed in all but a few cases. Most of them will be pro basketball journeymen who will rarely find any stability on NBA teams. Sometimes, though, training camp cuts go on to have pretty impressive careers – making some execs look not-so-smart in the process.
These are some examples:
Hassan Whiteside (Memphis, October 2014 cut)
The man who gets triple-doubles with blocks and became the first player to go from a minimum to a maximum deal was cut by the Memphis Grizzlies in October 2014, then signed and waived again one month later. Surely, the colorful Whiteside, who averaged 13.1 ppg, 11.1 rpg and 3.7 bpg the last two seasons, could have helped the Grizzlies some in all those games Marc Gasol missed due to injury.
Grizzlies owner Robert Pera is not totally over that blunder, ESPN.com reported early in the 2015-16 season.
Jeremy Lin (Houston, December 2011 cut)
Claimed off waivers out of Golden State, Lin was cut during the 2011 training camp to make room for center Samuel Dalembert. When Lin’s career exploded in New York, Rockets GM Daryl Morey was the first one to admit his regret for that move, then acted on that regret giving Lin a three-year, $28.8 million contract in the summer of 2012.
Danny Green (Cleveland, October 2010 cut)
The North Carolina product was in and out of the league all the time before San Antonio took a chance on him for good after the 2011 lockout. Like many others, Green flourished in the Spurs’ paradise and has become one of the premier 3-and-D players in the NBA. Before that, he spent one year in Cleveland, then failed to make the opening-day roster of the 2010-11 LeBron-less Cavs after struggling in the preseason. The Cavs kept Manny Harris instead. (Harris played in the D-League, Turkey and China last season).
Patrick Beverley (Miami, October 2010 cut)
The Heat gave him a two-year, $1.2 million guaranteed contract, then opted not to keep him, which was a bit of a surprise. Beverley paid his dues in Russia and returned to the States as a defensive ace for the Houston Rockets two years and a half later.
Chris Andersen (Phoenix, October 2001 cut)
Who needs a run-and-jump big man with little offensive skill when you already have Jake Tsakalidis and Daniel Santiago on the team, the Suns probably thought. So they waived him. Andersen then became the No. 1 pick in the first D-League draft and the first call-up in the minor league history when he joined the lowly pre-Melo Nuggets. Fifteen years later, he remains a productive center, only with way more tattoos and one NBA championship ring.