D.J. White’s NBA opportunity

  • 04/12/2011 7:20 pm in

Some White (No. 8 jersey) highlights from three recent Bobcats games.

For two and a half seasons, D.J. White lead a life of NBA anonymity.

He occupied the end of the bench in Oklahoma City. Spent time in the D-League.

But after a trade landed him with the Bobcats on Feb. 24, things have changed. White has seen steady minutes in a reserve frontcourt role under coach Paul Silas — in part because Tyrus Thomas has been out with injury. He’s averaging 8.3 points (52.1 percent shooting) and 4.4 rebounds in 19.4 minutes per contest.

White’s knocking down the mid-range jumper. He’s hustling down the court, beating the defense and dunking it home for two. He’s looking more filled out, mature and polished than his IU days.

White likely won’t ever be a star or even a starter.  (Silas saying he’d like White to play in the Summer League is an indication of that.) And this limited sample size of games with the Bobcats can’t paint the whole picture.

But if Charlotte retains Silas for next season — he was hired after Larry Brown’s swift departure earlier this year — it’s possible White will continue to factor into the team’s rotation. Which could set him up for a longer career in the league.

White is under contract for next season. But pending the details of a new collective-bargaining agreement, Charlotte will have the option to tender him a qualifying offer by June 30 of 2012 to make him a restricted free agent. Such an offer will a) either keep White in Charlotte for the 2012-13 season if no other team comes calling or b) have White signing an offer sheet with another team (which could be a multi-year deal) that the Bobcats will have the opportunity to match.

Lots to still be determined on this front. There are no guarantees.

But if he continued to toil away in Oklahoma City next season instead of potentially continuing to get run in 2011-12 with the Bobcats? A qualifying offer may have been less likely to come. And as an unrestricted free agent with little to no playing time under his belt, White could have faced longer odds of staying in the league.

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