The Oklahoma City Thunder have used their D-League affiliate Tulsa 66ers to shuttle players back and forth as much as any team in the league this year.
The Thunder have been sending Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones III, Reggie Jackson, DeAndre Liggins and Daniel Orton to the 66ers and back again numerous times.
The idea behind it is to not waste these players on the end of the Thunder bench. We’ve already seen with Jackson it being of great use as he killed it in the D-League then came back to OKC and assumed a spot in the rotation.
The player whose spot Jackson took in the rotation was Eric Maynor. Maynor has been struggling quite a bit this season shooting 29.7 percent from the field and 31.0 percent from three.
Since Jackson took over as the team’s backup point guard, Maynor has only played 20 minutes in the last ten games.
But Maynor isn’t interested in playing in the D-League this season.
“No,” Maynor said emphatically, repeating it two additional times, when asked if he had any desire for a D-League assignment to the Tulsa 66ers. “I get good court work in every day so I’m going to be straight whenever the opportunity comes back around.”
The main idea behind sending players to the D-League is to keep them fresh so that they are ready to come in and contribute whenever they are called upon. That can benefit the young guys like Jackson and Liggins but Maynor clearly sees himself as more of a veteran.
Maynor said he believes that the work he puts in daily in practice is equivalent to the playing time he was getting coming off the Thunder bench anyway.
Maynor is a player that will be linked with Thunder trade rumors this season. The Thunder chose not to extend Maynor back on Oct. 31 meaning he will become a restricted free agent this summer. With the way Jackson has been playing, it seems very unlikely OKC is interested in keeping Maynor long-term.
There should be no worry of Maynor not being ready to come in and contribute for the Thunder if he is called upon. By all accounts, he is a real professional and is still very active on the Thunder bench despite not getting playing time anymore.