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Delonte West: Moving to D-League Is Right Step for Free-Agent Guard

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 17:  Delonte West #13 of the Dallas Mavericks dribbles the ball against the Phoenix Suns during a preseason game at American Airlines Center on October 17, 2012 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.   (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2013

Delonte West is setting himself up for an NBA revival by starting from the bottom.

West has yet to play for the Texas Legends despite being a member of the roster. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that could change:

The 29-year-old guard was a productive member of the Dallas Mavericks last season, averaging 9.6 points and 3.2 assists. With his litany of mental health issues and arrest record, it's understandable that teams would be wary of taking a chance on West.

He's been incredibly inconsistent throughout his career. West enjoyed the best run of his career with the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers but managed to screw it up in a big way.

In 2009, he was pulled over for speeding in Maryland. The arresting officer then found multiple firearms, and West was taken in on a weapons charge (h/t Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer). Then it also came out that West suffers from bipolar disorder, as did the unsavory rumor regarding his personal life.

After that arrest, his career has taken a nosedive and arguably hit its nadir when West revealed he had resorted to applying to Home Depot (h/t ESPNBoston.com). A judge had prevented West from leaving the country to play pro basketball abroad.

Career security is not something offered to West. He can't afford to turn down an opportunity to play in the Development League. It may feel like a slap in the face and a major step down from the NBA; however, the D-League is the best West will be able to get at this point.

At the very least, West came to his senses faster than Allen Iverson. AI turned down a move to the Texas Legends at the end of January (h/t Marc Stein of ESPN). He talked about making a return to the NBA if God provided him another opportunity, yet he turned down what will be the best offer he's going to get.

NBA teams know what West can do on the court. It's not as if his performance in the D-League will blow anybody away. West is already past his playing prime but can still provide something off the bench for a contending team.

The biggest thing that teams need to see from West is professionalism. Having bipolar disorder is a serious problem and one not taken lightly by teams. They'll be a bit compassionate to his needs. At the same time, though, West needs to illustrate that he can handle the rigors of playing each and every night without causing too many problems in the locker room.

If West goes down to Texas and does well for a couple weeks, then he will have earned himself a spot on an NBA roster.

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