The Oklahoma City Thunder continue to shuffle players back and forth between the NBA Level Thunder and the D-League level Tulsa 66ers. Kyle Weaver was designated for assignment in the D-League for the first time this season, and D.J. White is making his third and what has to be (by rule) his final trip to D-League Tulsa. No further details have been announced yet, so I'll take the rest of the post to discuss the reasons why I think this move happened.
First off, I'll focus on D.J. White and his seemingly endless parade between the Thunder and 66ers over the past few weeks. Having spent the entire season unable to play basketball, the Thunder are clearly tyring to get him as much playing time as possible so he can work himself back into game playing shape. But why call him up for one game, a game in which he didn't even dress (Spurs), and then send him right back down? My guess, and its purely speculative, is that they are not only trying to get him playing time in the D-League but also PRACTICE time with the Thunder. To me that's the only thing that would make sense in this latest call up/assignment happening so quickly. The season is nearly over, and D-League rules (if I'm not mistaken) allow first and second year players to be designated for assignment up to 3 times per season. This would allow him to develop a relationship with his Thunder teamates as well as give him the oppertunity to learn their systems both offensively and defensively. While that is certainly to his benefit, until he's in better game playing shape, his time with the Thunder will be limited, which makes the move to Tulsa all that more beneficial in terms of getting him live game action.
As for Kyle Weaver, moving him to D-League Tulsa will allow Kyle to get unprecedented playing time, and allow the newest Thunder guard, Shaun Livingston, a chance at more playing time than he would otherwise get with Weaver ahead of him in the rotation. This move screams to me that the organization is trying to get some of these young guys as much playing time as possible in an effort to tirelessly evaluate all of them so they know which direction to head in the off season.
Essentially they are killing two birds with one stone. They already know what Weaver can do, but called up Livingston to see where he's at against NBA competition. To do that, they'd have to cut into rookie Kyle Weavers minutes, and potentially slow his progression down. By designating him for assignment to the 66ers, it will allow Livingston to get playing time with the Thunder without slashing Weavers minutes, since he'll likely get big minutes in any games he plays with the 66ers.
Of course this is all purely speculative, but when I take a step back and look at the moves they have recently made, it pieces together nicely the way I described above. Of course Sam Presti is a much more brilliant man than I, so who knows, perhaps he has something very different up his sleeve.