Robert Vaden Rumors
Robert Vaden signed a three-month contract in Slovakia with Nitra who finished last season in second place. The player was selected by Charlotte Bobcats with the 54th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft and spent his rookie season as pro with Aget Imola, in Legadue. Last season Vaden was in NBDL with Tulsa 66ers averaging 11.0ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.2apg.
Vaden’s call-up is further proof that the Thunder rewards hard-working players who have the right attitude and show a commitment to getting better. Aldrich has spent much of his rookie season paying his dues and is currently doing so in Tulsa. Mullens has been on the Turnpike Express as well over the last two seasons. The system might not result in every young player getting called up or put on the permanent roster. But a clear method has been created, and it’s already led to some pretty favorable results. Quietly, the Thunder-owned 66ers have cranked out tons of talent. The Thunder did the exact same exercise with Mustafa Shakur last season, signing him toward the end of the season for the rest of the year and the playoffs. Shakur is now playing for Washington. Weaver, meanwhile, chipped in during emergency situations last year in between stints developing with the 66ers. Now, Weaver is a member of the Utah Jazz. The 66ers also helped Zabian Dowdell get signed by Phoenix and Larry Owens recently get signed by the Wizards.
It’s unlikely Vaden will find minutes on the Thunder. The team’s rotation is set, and talented players like Nate Robinson are already squeezed out. So why did the Thunder sign a guy who probably isn’t going to play? The answer can be found in something rather significant the Thunder is doing — growing from within. Vaden’s signing is the organization’s latest example of its commitment to its current cast of young players. For the Thunder, a laundry list of guys already make up that group. In addition to Vaden, the list includes Byron Mullens, Cole Aldrich, Ryan Reid, Latavious Williams and Tibor Pleiss. Last season, D.J. White and Kyle Weaver also fell into that category.