Before each season, NBA Development League teams hold open tryouts, searching for local talent to add to their rosters. Each team can then invite up to five players from its respective tryout to training camp that fall.
The tryouts represent the first step in the extensive process of putting together an NBA D-League roster for the upcoming season.
Past local tryout success stories include Kiwi Gardner, an internet sensation who became a fan favorite with the Santa Cruz Warriors, Ron Howard, the NBA D-League’s second all-time leading scorer, and Jonathon Simmons, who recently signed with the San Antonio Spurs.
See below for the current local tryouts scheduled leading up to the 2015 season, and scroll down to read more about past success stories.
(Click the links for more info. NBA affiliates in parentheses.)
Austin Spurs (San Antonio Spurs): September 19 — San Antonio, Texas; September 20 — Austin
Bakersfield Jam (Phoenix Suns): September 26 & 27 — Bakersfield, Calif.
Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers): September 27 — Canton, Ohio
Erie BayHawks (Orlando Magic): September 13 — Orlando; September 20 — Erie, Penn.
Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Indiana Pacers): Oct. 17 & 18 — Fort Wayne, Ind.
Grand Rapids Drive (Detroit Pistons): October 10 — Grand Rapids, Mich.; October 11 — Rochester, Mich.
Idaho Stampede (Utah Jazz): September 19 — Meridian, Idaho
Iowa Energy (Memphis Grizzlies): October 10 — Memphis; October 11 — Des Moines, Iowa
Maine Red Claws (Boston Celtics): October 3 — Waltham, Mass.
Raptors 905 (Toronto Raptors): September 19 — Mississauga, Ont.
Reno Bighorns (Sacramento Kings): August 30 — Reno, Nev.; September 5, Sacramento, Calif.
Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston Rockets): Oct. 11 — Hidalgo, Texas; Oct. 18 — Houston
Sioux Falls Skyforce (Miami Heat): Sept. 27 — Miami; Oct. 10 — Sioux Falls, S.D.
Texas Legends (Dallas Mavericks): September 19-20 — Plano, Texas
Past Local Tryout Standouts
Kiwi Gardner, Santa Cruz Warriors: Before driving 60 miles across the bay from his hometown Oakland on Oct. 6, 2013, Gardner had already made a name for himself. But the Santa Cruz Warriors’ tryout that day — the fifth one he participated in — gave him a platform to show that he was more than just an internet sensation; he could play. The local Bay Area Legend eventually was drafted by Santa Cruz, became a fan favorite as a “Sea Dub” and lived out his dream on Golden State’s Summer League roster in 2014.
NBADLeague.com Spotlight: The Tryout — How Kiwi Gardner Made His Hometown Team
Ron Howard, Fort Wayne Mad Ants: Howard, a Chicago native and former college teammate of Dwyane Wade, showed up to the Mad Ants’ 2007 tryout an hour late. That didn’t stop him from making Fort Wayne his second home, embarking on a seven-year run in the NBA D-League. His decorated minor-league career includes a championship and co-MVP Award in 2014 and the No. 2 spot on the NBADL’s all-time leading scoring list.
NBADLeague.com Spotlight: Becoming Mr. Mad Ant
Jonathon Simmons, Austin Spurs: The Austin Spurs’ 2013 tryout was just one step in Simmons’ unlikely journey from a rough neighborhood in northeast Houston to the NBA. A year after he made the Spurs’ NBADL roster, he nearly decided to quit playing basketball. A year after that, following a breakout 2014-15 season in Austin, he turned heads at the 2015 NBA Summer Leagues and landed a contract with the San Antonio Spurs.
NBADLeague.com Spotlight: Meet Jonathon Simmons, the Unlikeliest Spur