- Marc Stein, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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After three months away from the game, Rashad McCants is planning to come back to Texas to try to revive his NBA career.
McCants reconnected this week with the D-League's Texas Legends and has been invited to rejoin the team after leaving the Legends in December to sign a more lucrative contract in China.
The Chinese deal with Lionang Panpan, however, collapsed almost immediately after McCants left Frisco. The former 2005 lottery pick appeared in only three games with the Legends before his departure and hasn't played organized ball since.
But McCants, who likewise hasn't played in the NBA since the 2008-09 season, asked to rejoin the Legends after receiving an offer to join the recent flurry of NBA veterans -- headlined by Allen Iverson -- to sign in Turkey this season. The 26-year-old apparently convinced Legends co-owner and Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson that he's ready to commit to a D-League stint as opposed to signing somewhere in Europe where he can make more money.
"Providing opportunities and second chances is what the D-League is all about," Nelson said. "And that's exactly what Rashad needs right now."
McCants has made arrangements to rejoin the Legends on Monday. He doesn't have much time left this season to impress NBA scouts -- with only nine games left on the Legends' regular-season schedule after his arrival and less than five weeks to go in the NBA's regular season -- but would figure to have a better opportunity to feature in the Legends' offense now that Mavs rookie Dominique Jones is no longer with Dallas' D-League affiliate after foot surgery in February.
McCants left the Legends in December partly because he sought and did not receive any assurances from the Mavericks about eventually landing a roster spot with them. Chances are a 10-day contract offer would have surfaced by now from Dallas or another NBA team had McCants stayed, based on talent alone, but McCants has to start over yet again in terms of convincing NBA general managers that his attitude and willingness to fit into a team structure have improved.
McCants flashed undeniable potential as a scorer in his four seasons with Minnesota and Sacramento, averaging 10.0 points in 249 career games, but admitted in a recent interview with the Lost Lettermen blog that he knows NBA teams want him to play in the D-League "to show humility to get back."
The Legends acquired McCants' D-League rights through a new allocation rule in the NBA this season that allowed D-League teams to claim the rights to three players released by parent clubs in training camp. The shooting guard signed with the Mavs late in training camp and was then quickly released by Dallas in a move essentially aimed at ensuring that the Legends, coached by Nancy Lieberman, would have McCants' rights as opposed to merely hoping they could land him in the D-League draft.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban admitted earlier this season that he and Nelson originally wanted McCants on the Legends' roster to evaluate him as a potential in-season signee. It would appear now that any of chance of earning an NBA recall with Dallas has been extinguished by the Mavs' recent acquisitions of Peja Stojakovic and Corey Brewer and the return of young guard Roddy Beaubois, but the Legends retained McCants' D-League rights when he left.
The former North Carolina star, selected by Minnesota with the 14th overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft after helping the Tar Heels win the 2005 national championship, averaged 12.3 points in just 18 minutes in his three Legends appearances. Upon signing with the Legends, McCants pledged to donate his entire D-League salary of $25,000 to the Urban Born youth and teen charity foundation.
Any foreign team that wants to buy McCants out of his D-League contract must pay $45,000, but that money would go to the league as opposed to the Legends.
Marc Stein covers the NBA for ESPN.com and is a frequent contributor to ESPNDallas.com.
Rashard McCants set to rejoin D-League's Texas Legends.