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Rafer Alston to join Lakers D-League team, the L.A. D-Fenders

Feb 3, 2012, 11:04 AM EDT

Miami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks Getty Images

Rafer Alston has been unceremoniously dismissed the last two times he’s signed a professional basketball contract, but the veteran NBA point guard and longtime streetball aficionado has decided he wants one more chance to prove he can play in the big leagues. The Los Angeles Lakers’ D-League affiliate, the L.A. D-Fenders, have decided to grant him that opportunity.

The D-Fenders have already had three of their point guards called up to the NBA this season, creating the opening Alston’s planning to fill when Los Angeles hosts the Erie BayHawks on Saturday night. HoopsHype editor Jorge Sierra was the first to report that the Eric Musselman coached team has decided to sign Alston.

The 35-year-old Alston probably couldn’t have found a better spot in the D-League than the D-Fenders. It isn’t likely he’ll be called up to the ‘A’ team — though he is two years younger than Derek Fisher — but Jamaal Tinsley started the season as the D-Fenders’ point guard before being called up and showing out with a career resurgence as the starting point guard for the Utah Jazz on Thursday night.

Alston’s journey to the D-Fenders wasn’t smooth, however. He actually signed with the D-League on Jan. 28, but there were apparently concerns over his playing shape and attitude that caused all 16 teams to pass on “Skip 2 My Lou” when he cleared waivers last Friday. Most recently, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants decided to sign 5-foot-9 point guard Devan Downey as emergency depth instead of plucking Alston out of the available player pool.

The Lakers D-League affiliate has decided to end Alston’s time in purgatory, though, as they add to a roster that currently includes former draft picks Gerald Green, Mardy Collins, Orien Greene and Lakers’ assignee Derrick Caracter.

Alston’s last shot at the NBA came with the Miami Heat during the 2009-10 season and, after starting all 25 games played for the team, their relationship didn’t end amicably. Alston then returned to basketball in early 2011 with a trip to China, but after scheduling a trip home to attend a funeral, he was reportedly told not to return as the team didn’t feel they could trust him. Though Alston has been off the basketball court since last February, he’s still been making headlines: He was sued in August for a fight at a strip club that happened in July 2010 while attempting to redeem his image as head coach at Christian Life Center Academy in Houston, Tex.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of shape Alston came back in and what his attitude is as he comes off of the bench for a D-League team — he wasn’t a fan of coming off of the bench for the New Jersey Nets just a few seasons ago. The fact remains, however, that it’ll be interesting … and shouldn’t that be what the D-League’s all about when guys sign that aren’t there for “development” purposes?

  1. mjbulls45 - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    I was a ball boy soph year of college and saw Alston in the tunnel before the game,

    I went up to him and told him that he was one of the reasons I started playing basketball after my brother handed me the 1st edition of the AND 1 mixtape, before AND1 and the tours got commercial, the tape was a beat up old VHS tape, with most of the footage from the mid to late 90’s ,

    I felt like I was talking to a friend, SO COOL, down to earth, funny,

    in the NBA world where we dont really know how our favorite players are off the court,

    I can swear by it , that Rafer is a good guy, cool dude, and real,

    aside from that the Orlando Magic robbed him the year they went to the finals (2009),

    he was the PG that got them there thru Cleveland , and then Nelson got healthy and they started him and took Alston off the bench, bad move,

    Game 1 of that finals the Magic team looked in disarray and got blown out.

    Bottom line – street legend, good guy , and quality NBA PG who took a team to the finals.

  2. Bryce - Feb 3, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Skip to my lou. Can’t say i’ve met him but this guy can ball. mixtapes from the 90’s are the real deal.

  3. jgray30 - Feb 4, 2012 at 5:25 AM

    Id take him right now over Dfisher and Sblake..am I wrong for that?

  4. jerry2lou - Feb 4, 2012 at 7:20 AM

    Regardless of the untoward remarks by the writer of the article, the fact remains Alston led the Magic in 09 to the NBA finals. One of the mysteries of this era of NBA Finals will be the substitution of Jameer Nelson for Rafer Alston. No one even gave the Magic a shot of making the finals that year. His reward was banishment to the hapless Nets.Putting aside his attitude and behavior, if he comes back humble and sincere, he’s a rare commodity is the shoot first era of the NBA. Who recently has come into a team in the second half of the season and on his floor leadership taken them all the way to finals. Name one Mr. Writer.

  5. alimoe87 - Feb 8, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    Rafer Alston!! COME BACK THE GAME HAS MISSED YOU

  6. curious832 - Feb 10, 2012 at 3:01 AM

    Who is Evania Garcia? Is Rafer Alston not getting married to the other chic that was on tv anymore or what? Anybody know? Is Rafer with Evania!? I see and hear of them everywhere, I need to know!

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