Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Livingston sign multiyear deal
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Former first-round draft pick Shaun Livingston will get another chance to make a comeback in the NBA from his gruesome knee injury two years ago.
Livingston signed a multiyear contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday after spending three weeks with their NBA Development League team in Tulsa. The Thunder also recalled rookie D.J. White, who has been working his way back from two jaw surgeries, from the D-League for the second time in eight days.
Livingston has had an extended recovery since tearing three ligaments in his left knee and dislocating his kneecap after a layup attempt in February 2007 with the Los Angeles Clippers. He averaged 9.5 points and six assists in 11 games with Tulsa.
"It's like coming into the league again as a rookie," Livingston said Tuesday. "I've got to prove to myself I can still play."
Livingston joined the Thunder for Tuesday night's game in San Antonio but was inactive.
Livingston will go through his first practice Thursday, and Thunder coach Scott Brooks said he'll have a better idea after Friday's shootaround when Livingston will make his debut. Oklahoma City had just nine games left entering Tuesday.
"I like the future he has," Brooks said. "He's going to help. He's a prospect we obviously like. We want him to get better as much as he wants to get better."
General manager Sam Presti said having Livingston spend time just up the road in Tulsa helped the Thunder evaluate him, and he believes the 6-foot-7 point guard has done what he needs to do so far to make progress on his way back to the NBA. Presti expected Livingston to join Oklahoma City's summer league team to help continue his development leading up to next season.
Livingston came straight out of high school to be the No. 4 overall pick in the 2004 draft. He contributed to the Clippers' 2006 playoff run, when they pushed Phoenix to seven games in a second-round series. The following season, though, brought a major injury.
Livingston had to be carted off the floor after his knee buckled and twisted awkwardly beneath him. An MRI exam the following day showed how seriously he was hurt.
After a year and a half of rehab, Livingston got a chance during training camp with the Miami Heat and made the roster for this season. But he played in only four games over the first two months of the season and was traded to Memphis, which immediately waived him.
Livingston, a 6-foot-7 point guard, has averaged 7.3 points and 4.7 assists in 149 NBA games with the Clippers and Miami.
White, a first-round pick out of Indiana, missed the first five months of the season after surgery to remove a benign growth from his jaw and has yet to make his NBA debut.
He averaged 17.3 points and 9.7 rebounds in three games with the 66ers before being recalled last week, then returned to Tulsa for one more game Sunday, scoring six points with one rebound in 10 minutes.